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My Story Of Living With Emetophobia


*Trigger Warning!*

In this post I will be talking about emetophobia. If you’re easily triggered by talk of vomit or other words I may use instead of vomit (because honestly, using that word is going to get boring and I’m going to bring in some synonyms to mix things up), skip this post and read one of my other happier ones.

What Is Emetophobia?

Some of you may know what emetophobia is. But some of you might not. Here’s a hint:

“Emesis” comes from the Greek word “emein,” which means “to vomit,” and “phobia,” obviously means an irrational fear.

Put "emesis" and "phobia" together, and what do you get? Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting.

I suffer from emetophobia. It started when I was around 11 (we’ll get around to the story soon, I promise), ruled my life for many years, but is now lying dormant, just waiting for a stomach bug. It’s an awful fear to have, because as gross as barfing is, it’s very hard to avoid it. Sometimes you get sick, sometimes someone else gets sick. Sometimes you even throw up because it’s your stomach’s own defense mechanism if you eat something bad for you or possibly poisonous (aka the dreaded food poisoning!). Basically, puking happens in life and you can’t avoid it forever. Unfortunately.

Emetophobia can be being scared of vomit or vomiting, and of being around others who vomit. The sight, sounds, or even the thought of vomit or vomiting can send a person with emetophobia into anxiety or a panic attack (or both!). I mean, no one likes throwing up (it’s super gross and awful, we can all agree on that!) but people with emetophobia will avoid all situations that can in any way possible lead to vomiting. Mention of the stomach flu? Avoid! Food that’s been in the fridge too long or near or past its expiration date? Throw that out! Going out drinking with the possibility of blowing chunks? Nuh-uh! Not gonna happen!

I didn’t always know that emetophobia had a name or it was an actual thing. I didn’t even know that other people had it! I honestly thought I was the only one in this very awful and exclusive club. I just knew that I had a strong and extreme fear of vomiting. It hurt my life for many years and led me to avoid so many situations and experiences just because I was scared of the possibility I might vomit. Because of this, I want to share my experience with all of you in the hopes that I can educate people about this phobia and hopefully help someone out there who reads this to know that they aren’t alone. (Because you aren't!)

It’s taken me a really long time until I discovered the Twitter community to realize that other people had this emetophobia thing too. I was inspired by Naomi over at Inching Forwards, to write about my own experience, since she wrote about hers, and I was so grateful that someone else understood. She also has some great tips and resources in her post (much better than mine), so please check out her post.

But my journey to emetophobe (aka a person who suffers from emetophobia) began with what I call "The Pizza Incident."

The Start of My Fear of Vomiting, or "The Pizza Incident" 

It all began, like I said, when I was 11. My mother is a great at making homemade pizza, and we’d have it often. So for lunch one day, my mom made an extra good pizza and my older sister and I chowed down. My sister has always been able to eat more than I have, so I felt a little like I was competing with her to eat as many slices as I could. I remember having several pieces and feeling rather full. But the pizza was yummy so I honestly didn’t mind.

A little while later, I started feeling a little sick. I wasn’t quite sure if it was my stomach or intestinal discomfort, but all I knew was that I felt very queasy. I decided the best thing to do was to plop myself down on the toilet (I know, TMI) with a book and just wait to see what would happen. Whatever end it came out of, I’d be set! (Listen, TMI again, but all bodily functions are gross and we all do them, so let’s just get over it, okay?) But the longer I sat there, the more queasy and sick I felt, and the more my heart started to race. I started sweating and thinking, “this hurts so much! What’s wrong? What’s going to happen? Why is this happening???” I felt so scared and confused. I didn’t realize it, but that was my very first panic attack. And the next thing I knew, I grabbed the trash can next to me and threw up into it. I remember my mom and sister coming in to check on me in the bathroom, with me sitting on the toilet, pantless, shaking and crying.

Even I could figure out what happened. Emetophobia usually comes after a traumatic incident involving vomit or vomiting. I knew that my first panic attack was connected to the idea of barfing, and they would forever be connected. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat pizza again for years. (If that doesn’t tell you how awful this fear is, then I don’t know what else will convince you!)

From there, the panic attacks would start and sneak up without warning. I remember waking up one day, early, and feeling panicky and nauseous. I wouldn’t eat anything, since I was afraid of throwing up again. I never wanted to feel that panic again. My mom would coax me with smoothies and gentle foods she promised wouldn’t upset my stomach. I eventually started eating again, but that fear remained and to be honest, I ate a lot less in case I overate and got sick. And continued to do so for many years to come.

The Peak of Fear

I had become obsessed with not vomiting. Or being around vomit. Or seeing vomit. Or hearing someone vomit. I even become obsessed with the idea of barfing and puke in general, despite the fact that it scared me so much I would obsessively check the labels on food to make sure they weren’t spoiled or else I would get food poisoning. I couldn’t watch any movie that had a puking scene in it. You know that one iconic scene in The Sandlot? I used to be able to watch it and laugh, but just the thought of it would make me go crying into my room. Even comedic scenes with throw up in them would send me in a blind panic, making me pull out my hair. I took to checking a website for parents that reviewed all the inappropriate things in movies to check for scenes of vomiting to make sure I could watch the movie in peace.

I ate less and less- just in case. When my acid reflux acted up, I carried about a plastic bag in my purse just in case I needed to puke when I was out. I flinched and freaked out when the words “vomit,” “barf,” or “puke,” (words I’m using now in this post) were even mentioned casually. I never tried alcohol as a teen because I was afraid just a single drop would make me hurl. I insisted on having food with any medication, just in case the medication shouldn’t be taken on an empty stomach. My life was consumed with not barfing, seeing vomit, or anything that had to do it. It was physically exhausting and emotionally draining.

This lasted for many years and coincided with a dark depression that started when I was around 12. I went to therapy. A lot of therapy. A lot of medications. No one I saw had any great ideas to help me with my Extreme Fear: Vomiting Edition except for talking about it. Which in all honesty, didn’t do too much, since we weren’t making any progress. Looking back, I was just wasting my parents’ insurance co-pays on substandard therapy sessions. Also, in retrospect, those therapists sucked and had no idea how to help me.

Eventually it got a little better when I was around 18, but unfortunately, another traumatic experience involving the idea of vomiting sent me on another dark route that I won’t get into now (or maybe ever, on this blog. Sometimes some things are too personal to share). But after many years of suffering, crying, hair-pulling, panic attacks, and anxiety, finding the right medications, and therapy, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. An unexpected, horrible light that would kind of really help.

The Thing I’ve Been Fearing the Most Happens (And It Kind of Helped)

Like I said earlier in this post, puking is kind of hard to avoid in life. Unfortunately, even if you have an irrational fear of it, it’s going to happen to you. It’s not like a “normal” fear, like of being murdered, where the percentage is incredibly tiny. Vomiting is going to happen to you at some point. And it finally happened to me.

After years of avoiding the regurgitation monster, it happened. I remember one night I got really dehydrated, and ended up getting very sick, gastrointestinally speaking, in the bathroom (we already discussed bodily issues earlier, so don’t get grossed out. You know it’s happened to you, too!). My body was losing a lot of water and I was feeling shaky and sick from all the trips to the bathroom. It was early morning and I thought if I possibly had a cracker (pita chips, to be exact) and a drink, it might settle my stomach.

It had the opposite effect. Being dehydrated can cause nausea and guess what happened after I ate? I threw up! For the first time in so many years, my worst fear happened to me. But it was so quick I almost barely registered it. Afterwards, as my mom helped me clean up the couch (sorry, couch), she smiled at me, hugged me, and whispered in my ear, “you did it.”

And she was right. I did do it. Well, technically, my stomach did the work for me. If I could have avoided barfing, I would have. But that’s the thing. Sometimes the thought and anticipation of throwing up is worse than the actual act (not that the actual act is pleasant. It’s the total opposite). Because the anticipation is really the fear of the possibility of throwing up. It’s that fear of losing control that somehow forms and clamps onto something physical that is really the problem. And I finally faced that fear without intending to!

Where I Am Now With My Fear

I can’t say that I’m “cured.” I don’t think there really is such a thing as being cured from a lot of things, especially mental health issues. I know people use the word “recovery” a lot, but I actually like the term “remission” better. I feel like a lot of my mental issues will always stay with me, but they will ebb and flow (more on the ebbing side, I hope!), and I feel that way about my fear of throwing up.

But after my unexpected hurling session happened, I learned that I could survive my worst fear. It didn’t destroy me. There wasn’t total blackness after it happened like I always expected there would be. I was still here, I made it through. Was it a horrible, gross experience? Of course it was. Again, no one likes throwing up. It just proved to me that I could work through my fear and survive something that is gross and scary, but not let that fear take over my life again.

Am I still scared of vomiting? Heck yes! I still panic when I hear a family member barfing, but I’ve come a long way. I’m able to pull myself together. Even though I do try to avoid the situation, I force myself to put that fear aside and focus on the person and what they’re feeling, not the act of barfing itself. I’ve even cleaned up some puke. Talk about self-imposed exposure therapy!

So for now, I try not to think about myself barfing unless I actually think I might. My current (and wonderful) therapist told me about anxiety is that there is no point in worrying if nothing has actually happened yet. After years of living with this and suffering from it, I feel like I sort of have a handle on it. But I’ll update you the next time I throw up on how it went! (If you really want to know, you twisted freaks. I’m kidding. I love you all. Thank you for reading this!)

Where to Find Help for Emetophobia

If you suffer from emetophobia, I highly recommend you find a therapist to help you deal with it. A therapist who deals with phobias and anxiety is the best option (not like the ones I went to who just wanted to take my parents’ money!). It will be incredibly hard to do, I’m just warning you, because the last thing you want to do when you have a fear of something is to talk about it and learn NOT to avoid it. But it is really worth it, if this fear is keeping you from living your life, like it did for me.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are a few ways that therapists can help you face your fear of throwing up. I never did exposure therapy officially, but in a way I made myself face that fear by watching movies and videos with vomiting in them and dealing with barfing family members, as mentioned above. I’ve even heard some people say they’ve found websites or books to help them with their fear. All of these can help and have helped people (or so I’ve heard), but I would definitely try to find a therapist to help you instead of doing this all by yourself (I’m sure you can still use the books or websites along with therapy). I wish I had had that support back then, but hopefully you can have that support now.

You can get help with your fear. Don’t let it hold you back from all the good things life has to offer you! I missed out on so much because my anxiety and panic attacks influence me so much and I let my fear rule me. No one should live like that. I can’t promise that you’ll ever be “cured” (like I said, my status is currently “in remission”), but getting a hold on emetophobia and not fearing the vomit or the idea of puke can really change your life (and honestly let you watch more movies!). So with the help of a mental health professional and support from family and friends, you can learn not to let this fear rule your life. I promise you that it will be worth it!

Because guess what? Pizza and I are on good terms now. Take that, emetophobia!

This was a very emotional and hard post for me to write. I feel like most posts regarding my mental health are! Sometimes it can be painful to go back to such dark times. But I’m so glad I wrote it if it helps educate and help someone else who may have emetophobia. Thank you to everyone who reads this for listening and understanding. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve ever dealt with emetophobia or you’ve even heard of it before! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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The Versatile Blogger Award


The Versatile Blogger Award

In honor of this new year and decade, I’ve decided to (finally) do another blogger tag that I was nominated for! Hurray! I know I always say this, but I really am so flattered and humbled when someone nominates me for a blogging award. That means they either like my blog, me, or both! (Hopefully both!) Either way, I thought this would be a lovely way to start off the new year. (Plus, I’m super behind on all of the awards I’ve been tagged in. Oops! But I have all of 2020 to make up for it, right?)

The Versatile Blogger Award Rules
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Share seven facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate fifteen other bloggers.
I was nominated by the spectacular Naomi over at Inching Forwards. Her blog is a wonderful mix of real life issues, mental health, and so much more. She writes about a little bit of everything and really wants to help others improve their lives, by focusing on mental health, self-care, and by making positive changes in the world. (I mean, how cool is she??) Her writing is so honest and interesting, but she also brings up such important subjects and handles them with such care. But she’s not afraid to be herself and I admire her for that! If you’re looking for a one of a kind blog by an amazing blogger, you need to read and subscribe to Inching Forwards. Plus, she loves cats, just like me! Thank you so much for the nomination, Naomi! As a big fan of you and your blog, I’m so, so honored! (Plus her little description of my blog on her tag, helped remind me that I am a decent blogger and I was so encouraged by her lovely words about my blog. It really has motivated me to keep blogging!)

7 Facts About Me
  1. I am incredibly stubborn! I don't like people telling me what to do or choosing for me. I get very upset if my choice has been taken away! Also, fun fact: I’ll most likely do something you want me to do if you tell me not to do it. Yep, even I know that people have to use reverse psychology on me! (By the way, no one get any ideas! I know how I work!)
  2. I’ve had a lot of odd jobs over the years, but the one I’ve done the most has been dog-sitting! The ironic part? I’m more of a cat person! Not that I don’t like dogs, they just aren’t my preferred pet. Oh, what I do for a few bucks!
  3. When I was younger, I either wanted to be a veterinarian or an artist. Then I found out all the sad and gross things a vet has to do to treat animals (I’m very squeamish and don’t like seeing animals in pain) and I also realized I didn’t have much artistic ability, despite taking many art classes when I was younger. Oh well!
  4. I was home-schooled from 4th grade all the way up to high school. And yes, my mom taught me. And yes, I do have friends and was properly socialized. Just in case you were wondering! (Let’s break that stereotype, people! Home-schooled kids are- usually- quite normal! Minus me, of course)
  5. I have a huge sweet tooth (or maybe all of my teeth are sweet teeth!). I love anything (milk) chocolate. So I’m obsessed with candy bars, cookies, brownies, and pies too (apple is my favorite!). I could literally go on! I really have to reign myself in and try not to go too overboard when sweets are around! This past Christmas was really hard for me, you guys.
  6. I tend to watch way too much Youtube! You know how some people binge-watch Netflix? I binge-watch Youtube! The channels I’m most obsessed with now are KoreanEnglishman and Jolly. They're run by two British guys, Josh and Ollie, who love South Korea and share their experiences there and in England too. It’s really educational but also lots and lots of fun! Plus, you get to meet (and love) Josh and Ollie, their families and friends, since they share visits to Korea, Korean food, and lots of other Korean things with them. South Korea is now on my bucket list thanks to them!
  7. I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but I am an interrupter! I honestly don’t do it to be rude, I just sometimes get excited when someone brings up a topic that I’m interested in and I just kind of open my mouth and the words just fall out as someone else is talking. I’m getting better at it, and I apologize often for doing it, and then let them finish talking. Again, I’m not trying to be rude, but it’s almost like if I don’t speak, then I’ll forget what I wanted to tell them later! But I think I’m getting better at letting people finish speaking and trying to remember what I wanted to say after they finish talking! I'm a work in process.
My Versatile Blogger Nominees

Julie from Dark Blue Journal
Camila from Plaid and Sugar
Beth from The Black Ant Blog
Tanya from The Phat Girl Blog
Payton from In the Flux
Ash from This Dreams Alive
Anne from Rooting Branches
Emily from Scripturient Blogger
Amy from ABC Family
Kim from Dirty Thirty Blog
Jess from Just Call Me Jess
Steph from Sometimes I Write
Jordanne from Of a Glasgow Girl
Meagan from Quibbles and Scribbles
Eleanor from Mrxshmallowqueen

For the bloggers I tagged, I know I’ve said this before on previous tags, but I completely understand if tags aren’t your thing, or you’ve been tagged before, so no pressure if you don’t do the tag! I just wanted to nominate you all because I admire each and every one of you and your blogs as well! And for those of you reading this, please check out everyone’s blogs, and read and subscribe to them too! Each person on this list has a wonderful blog and they all work so hard on them!

That concludes my nomination for the Versatile Blogger Award! I hope you enjoyed reading it and learning seven (strange, most likely) facts about myself! Again, I’m so flattered that Naomi nominated me! Thank you again, Naomi! I feel like bloggers work so hard on their blogs and don’t get enough credit and that these awards really help highlight all of the time and effort we put into our blogs. It’s a medium I feel like doesn’t get enough recognition (unlike YouTube) but I think bloggers deserve more consideration and credit for what we put out into the world! So these awards/tags are a perfect way to show others that we bloggers put in the time, our talent, and our hard work into our little corners of the internet for others to enjoy and for us to express ourselves.

(I kind of feel like that was my acceptance speech for this nomination. Oops! Didn’t mean for that to happen. At least it was heartfelt! Also, I forgot to thank my family. Sorry, Mom and Dad!)

What did you think of blogger awards and tags? I think they’re a lovely way of spreading encouragement and showcasing other bloggers and their blogs. Let me know if you’ve ever been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award or any other blogger award and what you think of them!

Stay Weird,
Emily

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What The Heck is An Enneagram & Finding Out What Mine Is!


For some reason, every time I go on Pinterest lately, I get random pictures, illustrations, and info graphics popping up saying things like “Enneagram Type 4: You’re spunky and won’t change your mind for anything!” or “Harry Potter Enneagram Types: Hermione Granger is totally a 5!” (I have no idea if those numbers are correct, by the way) Basically, I’m being told by a social media platform that Enneagrams are important and I need to find out what mine is. (Not really, but I’m doing this for the blog! And because I’m curious!) But first of all: what the heck is an Enneagram and what does it mean???

I have heard of Enneagrams before; I just don’t quite know what they were. I figured it was something akin to the Myers-Briggs test: where they use psychological traits plus other personality tests to identify what kind of personality you have, your strengths, and how you perceive the world. It’s a really helpful quiz to do if you’re looking to understand yourself more and why you behave the way that you do. For example, I’m an INFJ aka the Advocate or Idealist, which apparently is very rare, but surprisingly, it seems like most of the people I meet tend to be INFJ (boo, I’m not special!). But INFJ stands for Introverted (check!), Intuitive (okay?), Feeling (oh yes, I feel all the feels!), and Judging (I’m SO judgy. Just kidding! It just means how you view things). While not 100% percent accurate because everyone is literally different, even if you are the same MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) type, I’ve found myself enjoying the fact that I’m an INFJ because it really explains a lot about myself. (Like, a lot. Seriously.)

To learn more about the MBTI test, check it out here. (There are 16 MBTI types!) They have really cool explanations about why certain types act the way they do, and how they interact with others. Plus, they even give out job recommendations that would be good for certain types, plus famous people who share your personality type (For me: Oprah and Martin Luther King Jr. Heck yeah!). But again, nothing is 100% accurate, so don’t take it too seriously or think it’s utterly and entirely factual.

But Enneagrams sounded a little weird to me. For some reason, even the name of them sounded like something out of Scientology or a cult. (I think because in Scientology they have “engrams” and that sounds a lot to me like Enneagrams!) But after some further research, I found out that Enneagrams, or Enneagram of Personality, is another type of personality test, that consists of nine personality types (called enneatypes) which make up a geometric figure of all the interconnecting personality types called (you guessed it!) an enneagram. (So, really, shouldn't we not be calling them Enneagrams, but our enneatypes?)

According to the website Truity which offers free tests, Enneagrams: “...is a personality system that aims to reveal how emotions drive our lives and how we engage with others in an effort to get what we want and need…defines nine personality types, each with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for personal growth.” Finding out your type also “reveals what motivates you on a very deep level, and illuminates the path you must take to achieve a higher level of self-actualization.”

Hmm not as cult-y or strange as I thought, but also not too different from Myers-Briggs (though there are some people who mix Enneagrams with spirituality. Whatever floats your boat!). So let’s find out what I am and what all this fuss is about!

Before I started though, I found out there were nine different personality types (some with different names, but meaning the same basic thing):

Type 1: The Reformer/The Perfectionist: principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
Type 2: The Helper/The Giver/The Caregiver: generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.
Type 3: The Achiever: adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
Type 4: The Individualist: expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
Type 5: The Investigator: perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
Type 6: The Loyalist/The Skeptic: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
Type 7: The Enthusiast: spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.
Type 8: The Challenger: self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
Type 9: The Peacemaker: receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

Of course, these are just four basic words to describe each type, but if you look into all of the types, different websites will go in really deep (like, real deep) into how the types interact with others, how they view themselves, others, and the world, and so much more. The *official* Enneagram Institute website goes incredibly deep into how these types are all connected, how the Enneagram system works, and a lot more (seriously, they have so many Enneagram graphs and writings about how the types handle anger, stress, and more. It looks very complicated! And kind of science-y and psychological-y...? But who knows!).

Also, these descriptions are from the *official* Enneagram Institute website, where I did NOT pay $12 to get a code and take their test. Apparently a lot of businesses like to use these tests (also MBTI) to figure out employees' strengths and weaknesses, which is cool, but I’m my own boss and I’m not paying myself $12 to take the test. Sorry, self. You’ll have to figure it out unofficially

I started out by taking some (free) tests, because I wanted to take them several times to see if the results would vary. (I took several Myers-Briggs tests multiple times and always got INFJ) The first Enneagram test was on Truity, which reportedly would only take 10 minutes (fingers crossed!). After six pages of checking five boxes ranging from “Inaccurate,” “Neutral”, and “Accurate” and questions like, “I don’t fit in with ordinary people,” (um, yes) and “I do not hesitate to call out other people when they are behaving badly” (um, no. But I should!), I was finally done.

Enneagram Test #1: Truity

Apparently everyone shares a percentage from every different personality type, but the one I matched with the most, at 98% was type number Two! Aka the Giver, Twos wants to be liked and find ways to help others to make them feel loved and like they belong. Aww, I sound like a sweetheart!

But I also matched very closely with type 9, at 96%, the Peacemaker. Nines obviously like to stay out of trouble and let people around them make the decisions. Which I totally do at times.

The seven other types I matched with were, in order:

Four: The Individualist (87%)
Six: The Skeptic (83%)
One: The Perfectionist (79%)
Five: The Investigator (71%)
Seven: The Enthusiast (64%)
Three: The Achiever (63%)
Eight: The Challenger (42%)

Truity/That Weird Girl Life
I could have gotten the full report, but you had to sign up, and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d have to pay for it, so I just didn’t bother. (Also, I was feeling lazy and I had other free Enneagram tests to take!) On to the next test!

Enneagram Test #2: 9Types

The next one I tried was on 9Types, a website that looks very old school, like in a “remember-this-from-the-first-mid-2000’s” type of way that brings me so much nostalgia. It said on the first page to look over my results afterwards to see what type I truly identified with, which I found very intriguing. I took the free test, which consisted of selecting the statements that most applied to you (“methodical and cautious” vs. “adventurous and taken risks”) and these were my results! (They also asked for my gender and MBTI type at the end, too. Hmm.)

For this one, they’re saying I’m a Two as well! Only they’re calling it the Helper, not the Giver. My second type is Seven, the Generalist (or as the previous test called it, The Enthusiast). My other results from this site were:

Type 3: Four, the Artist
Type 4: Six, the Skeptic
Type 5: Two, the Helper
Type 6: Six, the Skeptic (again??)
Type 7: Four, the Artist (um, again??)
Type 8: for this I got a zero, and I have no idea what this means.
Type 9: Five, The Thinker

9Types/That Weird Girl Life
As you can see, I got wildly different results, despite my same number one results being a Two aka the Giver/Helper. Hmm. I’m not sure if it’s the tests or me! Especially since I got a zero for my 8th type (What. Does. That. Mean???). Let’s try one more and see how it goes!

Enneagram Test #3: CrystalKnows

Next up was the CrystalKnows test. This one was a lot like the Truity test. Very updated and geared towards finding out the psychology of the person, to help better you and work on yourself (it made me feel like it was again geared towards businesses, looking all professional and sleek). I had to answer several questions by checking boxes ranging from 1-5, 1 being very Disagree and 5 being very Agree. This one was a lot shorter than the Truity test, with the test barely taking five minutes (maybe I should have been paying attention more?)

But it turns out my Enneagram is way different than the first two tests I took. According to this test, I’m a Type Six: A Loyalist! As a Six, I “tend to be engaging, hard-working, and responsible. You generally want to feel safe and avoid outside threats.” Which is somewhat true, because I try to be responsible (usually), work hard (also usually), and I do like to feel safe and avoid outside threats (I mean, who doesn’t want to avoid outside threats?? I know I do!).

But again, to get my full profile and to see what my other percentages or types were, I had to make an account. Um, I don't have time for that, so let's move on!

CrystalKnows/That Weird Girl Life

Am I Really A Two?

But for now, let’s focus on the Truity and the 9types tests, because my first two type results were the same on both: My number one type being a Two, the Giver/Helper.

According to the *official* Enneagram Institute website: “Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm-hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self-sacrificing, but can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. They are well-meaning and driven to be close to others, but can slip into doing things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their own needs. At their Best: unselfish and altruistic, they have unconditional love for others.”

Some other famous “Two’s” they listed Eleanor Roosevelt, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Taylor, and, here’s a fun one, Monica Lewinsky (hey, ladies!).

And this is what Truity has to say about Twos and their core values: “A strong sense of meaning, acknowledgment from loved ones, and emotional intimacy with others are Givers’ grounding principles. Altruism holds a strong place in their hearts and they readily go out of their way to volunteer their time and energy to bring others up. Kindness and reciprocity are the guiding values for their decisions. To improve someone else’s life or mood is an immeasurable times better than helping themselves. The shared experience of spending quality time with a loved one is among the best feelings in the world to Givers.”

And according to CrystalKnows, here are some Two weaknesses: “Seeking and needing approval from others... Being perceived as overbearing at times...Difficulty recognizing and acknowledging their own needs...Disliking or being easily offended by criticism.”

I mean, a lot of this does strike a chord with me. I do try to be as kind and as helpful as I can. So many people in my life have been that for me, and I really do want to try and give back as much kindness that has been shown to me. I also try to be as sympathetic and as empathetic as I can towards people. I know what it’s like to not be in the best place, and I want to support people as much as I can. And I am altruistic! I like to think the world can be a better place, if only people would just try to make it that way. And as far as disliking or being easily offended by criticism...oh yes, that’s me all the way! (Don’t hurt me, I’m delicate!)

So what is my Enneagram? Am I really a Two, the Helper/Giver/Caregiver? Or am I a mix? Because honestly, when looking at all of the Enneagram types, I identify with a lot of them. I can be a Peacemaker at times, receptive and complacent, and sometimes I feel like I’m very the Investigator (who sounds very mysterious, by the way, and something I now aspire to be). So what am I really?

The *official* Enneagram Institute website says that people do not change from one basic type to another. But then the 9Types website says that after you get your results, you should really think about if you identify with the type you’ve been assigned. Call me confused! What or who do I believe??

So, What Do I Believe About All This of Enneagram Stuff?

All in all, I found this Enneagram experiment to be so fascinating! Much like the Myers-Briggs test, I found it to be an interesting take on the personality test, but I also didn’t quite agree with the results as much as I did with the Myers-Briggs one. My INFJ seemed to cover more of my personality traits, whereas my main type, being a Two, along with my second type, a Nine, were more of a mix of my actual personality type. Plus, there seems to be a lot of differences between Enneagram tests and beliefs, as seen by the various tests and what they call the different types.

I think the test, just like the Myers-Briggs test, is what you make of it. I love being identified as an INFJ, and thinks it suits me (almost) perfectly. As far as being assigned a Two as an Enneagram, I’m okay with it, but I feel like it isn’t perfect and other types may suit me better at different times (which I guess is why you have different types of your types. Does that make any sense? I'm still a bit confused by it all). 

So are these tests perfect? No, they aren’t. I don’t know how scientifically based they are (some people say not at all), even though they say they use “psychological traits” in some cases to determine your personality (some have called these test total pseudoscience and a new sort of “astrology," aka open to interpretation, in that it fits you at the moment). But they are kinda fun, and some of them really do help me look at my personality, and what I can identify and see as myself in these descriptions. But like I said before, we’re all such different people, that no test can really fit us into one perfect niche or define us, no matter how scientific or psychological (or spiritual) it might be. Just take it all with an open-mind, and remember that you are way more than what you are assigned and labeled by a test, official or unofficial.

And if nothing else, just have fun with it! Go give the Enneagram tests I took a try and see what comes up for you! Maybe you'll see yourself in that personality type and maybe it'll help you figure some things out about yourself. Or maybe you think it's all a bunch of nonsense and you'll leave me a strongly worded comment letting me know exactly how you feel! You never know!

That was my journey into finding out what the heck an Enneagram is and what my Enneagram is! I guess I’m a Two if I decide to be! (I’m taking the 9Type’s website’s advice and deciding for myself!) But I’m still not exactly sure if I think Enneagrams are my sort of thing, but if nothing else it was a blast taking the tests and learning about all of the different personalities!

Let me know in the comments if you’re into Enneagrams or not or had no idea like me what they were in the first place! I’d love to know your thoughts! (And what type of Enneagram you are!)

Stay Weird,
Emily

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Why My New Year's Resolution Is My New Life Mantra


I usually don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. Whenever I try to keep them throughout the year, I feel like I'm just setting myself up for disaster. What with thinking up a truly idealistic goal ("I'm going to be fluent in Italian by the end of the year!") and then telling people all about it (next year in December- Them: so how is your Italian going? Me: Er… spaghetti? Linguine? Minestrone…? Mozzareeeeellaaaa…sticks? Uh, ciao, gotta run!), it just never seems to work out for me. I either give up or just lose interest. Maybe I don’t pick the right goal for me or maybe I just can’t get motivated enough to go through with it. But this year, I have an actual goal in mind that could really change my life for the better. Because even though I titled this my New Year’s resolution, this is goal I actually thought up a few months ago and have decided to not only make it my new goal for 2020, but my new mantra for life.

But let me rewind and go back to when this whole journey started.

I’ve been pretty meek and shy all my life. A natural introvert. Believe it or not, I was more outspoken and angry back when I was younger, but as my self-esteem got worse, I become more quiet and docile. I let people control me and make decisions for me. From friends to boyfriends to doctors, it was just easier that way and I felt like people liked me more because I was so agreeable. Did it make me a doormat? Heck yes. Have people ever taken advantage of that? Oh yes. Oh yes yes yes. (Boy, do I have some stories!)

I’ve also always been the natural go between for people. For my family and friends in fights, I’d be the one they’d tell their side of the story to me, complain about the other person, when the whole time I’d just be screaming in my head, “just go tell them and work it out yourselves and leave me out of it!!” But instead I’d just smile and nod and tell them I understood. I didn’t want to be that person that they were complaining about to someone else. Like I said, it was just easier this way instead of saying what I really felt.

I’ve even let myself be walked over. I always try my best to be kind and polite, but as lovely as that is, I never get to say what I feel or sometimes I’m too afraid to be confrontational. From people like family and friends to authority figures like doctors, I never really questioned what they told me, how they told me things, what treatments/medications to do/take. And if I tried to speak up to a doctor (which was rare!), they’d (usually) listen, but then dismiss my suggestions because they were the doctors and knew best. (I’m not saying all doctors and medical professionals are like this, but I’ve run into a lot of them over the years!)

Well, something put me over the edge this year- 2019. (This is where the story truly begins!) It started last year (2018) at a trip to a new dentist (my old dentist was good, and while usually nice, made me feel bad about my teeth. Let me preface this by saying I have bad teeth, from genetics and medications, so I do take care of my teeth, but unfortunately due to the things mentioned, they aren’t in the best shape. So I feel like I shouldn’t be shamed for the hand that was dealt to me, but this dentist and his associates made me feel like it was my fault). I decided to leave my old dentist and try a new one that was less expensive and was leased in a super store that I shall not name, but the brand is huge and all over the world and starts with a “W” and ends in “mart.” (That’s all the hints I’m giving you. I’m sorry for making it such a puzzler for you!)

I looked up the dental office and they had pretty good reviews online, so I set up an appointment, had my appointment where they were super nice and even understood why I was so anxious. Plus, they didn’t shame me for having bad teeth! (This was a revelation to me!) Afterwards, they said they had a plan where I could pay for two cleanings plus x-rays for a flat fee. Altogether it was $40 less than one visit and x-ray at my old dental office so I was pretty excited. Basically I had already paid for both cleanings, had one done, and now just had to wait six months for my next. (Plus, I didn’t have any cavities!)

My next appointment was supposed to be in February of this year, 2019, and I’ll be honest, I lost my reminder card (ironic) and forgot about it. (Strangely, they didn’t call me to remind me of my appointment or call when I missed my appointment. Warning sign!) When I did remember (a month or two later), I called and apologized and asked if I could get a new appointment. The lady said they were under construction, but she would add my name to the list to call when they were done renovating. I thanked her and hoped they’d call soon since I was overdue for my cleaning. (See, I take care of my teeth, dentists reading this!)

Guess what? I didn’t hear back from them! I called again, a month or so later, and asked, “Hi! I still need to get my teeth cleaned! Are you guys still under construction?” The answer was a yes and they’d again add me to the list to call when they were done with construction. Okay. Fine. I can wait. And I did.

Finally, I was sick of the back and forth of phone calls and waiting. I went down to my local super store that shall not be named (should we just call it Voldemort at this point?) and went to the dental office to actually talk to someone in person (how assertive of me! Who is she??). I talked to a nice woman at the desk, who said that they were still under construction and it was taking a while because after each change, since they were renting from, er, Voldemort, they had to get Voldemort’s approval (which I can imagine is very hard to do). I said I understood and again, was put on a list of people to call so I could get an appointment.

As I patiently waited (because I trusted them and thought that’s what I was supposed to do and always did), I got more and more frustrated. Getting my teeth cleaned fills me with anxiety and I just wanted to get this over with! I tried calling again, but just got a voicemail message. I left several messages of my own, but no one ever called me back. Then one day I checked their website and it was gone. Vanished. Poof.  (Black magic from Voldemort?) My normally nice and understanding self was suddenly very worried and upset that I had been duped and cheated (which I had been!).

I went down to Voldemort and checked in at the dental office. Lo and behold, it, much like its website, was gone! I asked a Voldemort employee, a very helpful person (or a Death Eater?) what happened, and they said that the dental office just disappeared one night. I was brave and asked to speak to a manager to get more information, and all they said was to either contact Voldemort corporate (haha, Voldemort’s gone corporate!) or contact the Better Business Bureau. That was it.

This pushed me over the edge. I know a few hundred dollars may not seem like a lot to many people, but to me, it’s a lot, and guess what? I want my money back! Now the old Emily would have just given up and thought, “well, that’s just my life, I guess.” But no. Not this time.

Which brings me to my new year’s resolution aka my new life mantra: no more bulls*t or take no sh*t. Take your pick. I like them both.

With this new mantra and way of life, no longer am I going to be meek and compliant. I am going to speak up if I have a problem, and continue to speak up until my problem is resolved. I am going to stand up for myself. I need to be an advocate for myself and protect myself. You know, in the nicest possible way that I can while also being productive and moving things along. That goes without saying.

I’m not saying that I’m going to be mean and to be the “let me talk to the manager” mom meme. (You know that one I’m talking about!) While I was also taught to be polite, I was also taught to be nice. I think kindness is so important in this world where everyone is busy and everyone forgets how much a nice interaction can just make a person’s day. So I always try to be nice no matter what. Just because I’m in an argument or in a misunderstanding, doesn’t mean I have to treat the other person badly or viciously, even if the other person is being rude. (I don’t know their life or what they’re going through) Kill them with kindness, but take no sh*t. (Is that my new mantra??)

I did end up talking to Voldemort corporate (I still can’t believe He Who Must Not Be Named went corporate. So disappointing!) and I did exactly what my new mantra entailed: I was polite, but I was assertive. I gave the lady my information and the story of what happened. She wasn’t too much help and couldn’t give me an answer or a solution, so I said, “You’ve been super nice and patient with me and I just want to thank you, but is there anyone else in your department or at Voldemort corporate who can help me?” She said that I had probably come to the end of the line for any help from anyone there, and I thanked her and hung up.

See? That wasn’t too bad! I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I am being productive and taking my own advice. No more bullsh*t. I am getting things done (or at least trying) and standing up for myself. Which meant that yes, I filed a complaint against the dental office with the Better Business Bureau and am asking for a full refund. Because I literally have the receipts. BOOM.

And because of my new mantra, I am no longer the go between for my family. Instead of complaining to me or playing telephone between family members or friends, I now say, “I totally get it, but I think you should talk to so-and-so directly and explain it to them so they understand. You two need to TALK to each other and work it out on your own.” Which I’ve said several times to some of my family members who are having tiffs. I am done with being stuck in the middle. I am not neutral anymore, unless I decide to be. I want to keep the peace in my family life, but I also need to keep peace within myself too!

As a normally quiet person who internalizes everything, I know I'm going to need to find that balance between tenacity and niceness. I'm one of those people that usually keeps everything in until it reaches a boiling point and then the lid comes shooting off and everything I've been keeping inside comes out as a vitriolic spew over any poor soul who comes within 10 feet of me (meaning my family). But I know that this is the right path for me, and soon I will come to find that balance of assertiveness and kindness. It will just take a lot of practice but I’m ready to work on it!

Because like I said before, this is more than just not taking any more bullsh*t. It’s about not being taken advantage of, tricked, or walked over. I can’t wait for things to be magically fixed, I have to fix them myself and be productive. It’s about standing up for myself and being my own advocate- whether it’s for my health, my money, or just my own person. I am going to speak up for myself, be strong, and fix what was wrong and get what’s right. If other people can do it, than so can I! And if nothing else, I have to try to get what I need and what I want, because I deserve it! (Take that, low self-esteem!) And it’s not just a resolution: it’s a new way of life and a change of character. And a good one, at that.

So look out world! Emily in 2020 (and for the rest of the years to come) is ready to get sh*t done and figured out and she will not go down without a fight! (Seriously, I’m not letting go of this dental fiasco. I’m in it and ready!) A very polite fight, because I still believe everyone should be treated with kindness. Unless they really truly deserve, in which case then I will go in on them with my vitriolic spew! Other than that though, I’ll be that great mix of boss babe and Mother Theresa.

And that is my New Year’s resolution goal for 2020 AND my new life mantra! What do you think of my new mantra? Which mantra do you like best? No more bullsh*t, take no sh*t, or kill them with kindness but take no sh*t? I think I’m leaning towards the last one! Wish me luck on my new journey! Also, do you do New Year’s resolutions or goals? Let me know if you do or don’t!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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The Mystery Blogger Award


I am so honored to be nominated for the Mystery Blogger Award! I love doing blogging tags, sharing fun, deep, and sometimes silly information about myself, and then nominating other bloggers to carry on the blog tag and keep it going! It’s a wonderful way to connect with bloggers and help others discover some of my favorite blogs/bloggers! I also think the mission statement of the Mystery Blogger Award is so lovely and beautiful: read the next section to see why!

One of my favorite bloggers (and friends) Julie of Dark Blue Journal nominated me and I couldn’t be more excited! Julie is a fantastic blogger and writer who writes about the environment and sustainability, minimalism (she has inspired me to cut down on material goods and I am currently getting rid of so many things I was randomly holding on to), and real life issues. Whatever post you click on on Dark Blue Journal, I can guarantee you will learn something new and be swept up in Julie’s informative but very personal writing. She’s truly talented and a very wonderful person to boot. Please check out her blog and tell her Emily says hi! Thank you so much, Julie!

What Is the Mystery Blogger Award?

This award was created by Okoto Enigma as a way to award blogs that hadn’t been discovered yet and as a way to give them some much needed recognition!

“'Mystery Blogger Award'” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion."
– Okoto Enigma

Three Facts About Me!

1. I had my thyroid removed when I was around 18 or 19. I had Grave’s Disease (isn’t that an awful name for a disease? Grave’s disease), which is hyperthyroidism, and my thyroid turned into a goiter! (Meaning it became swollen and became enormous! Like sticking out of my throat enormous!) I had the options to either a) see if the medicine I was taking would make it go down (which it might not), b) take a radioactive pill to “kill” the thyroid, or c) remove it. I obviously decided to remove it and am now on synthetic thyroid hormones for life! Plus I have a cool neck scar now. (Scars are sexy on girls, too, not just guys!)

2. I don’t like apes. I am terrified of them! Maybe it’s because they’re so close to humans, or that I watched an old movie back in the day where a chimpanzee had a GUN, or the fact that a baboon roared at me through the Plexiglas at the zoo (it could honestly be all three of these things now that I think about it), but they really scare me. They’re the one groups of animals that really freaks me out. Spiders? Whatever. Snakes? Cool. Apes? NOPE. I can’t even think about watching any of the Planet of the Apes movies! Literally nightmare fuel. I mean, I want the orangutans to stay safe in the rain forest and keep their natural habitat, and I will support their cause, but I don’t want to meet or see them! Ever.

3. The coolest place I’ve ever been to is Egypt! My sister was studying there years, so my family decided to visit her there! It was probably the most different place I’ve ever been to in my life and really gave me that itch to want to travel more. I mean, how can you not after seeing the Sphinx and the Pyramids??? So far, I’ve only been to three other countries, but Egypt is by far the most historical and amazing place I’ve been to so far! So culturally different and fascinating than any other place I’ve been to.

Julie's Questions

1. What are your thoughts about the paranormal?
Despite never having had any paranormal experiences, I think I’m a believer! Or at least, I want to be. I’d like to believe that there is some sort of life after death. I think in a way we all do. It’s a comforting feeling to know that our loved ones are somewhere safe and lovely, but as far as ghosts, I don’t know where they fit in with that. Are they in a sort of purgatory before the afterlife? Are they just echoes of the past? And if there is an afterlife, does that make things in certain religions like angels and demons are real? (I mean, I grew up Catholic, so the idea of this is terrifying to me) If nothing else, I love anything paranormal because I love ghosts stories and anything that sends fun shivers down my spine. But in the future I’d love to stay in a haunted hotel and see for myself if I have any experiences!

2. Do you think humans will overcome the climate problems, and why?
This is such a tough question! In short, I think we will be able to combat some of the problems, but not totally. What we’ve done to the planet has been going on for so long, and we’ve done so much damage, with only minimal signs of stopping. People nowadays love convenience, and with that convenience brings plastic, more new things being produced, which adds to more pollution. I think the way young people are rallying together to protest and change the climate problems is so empowering. They are the ones who are going to have to deal with this in the future, so it really is their problem and they want change. But the older generations are going to have to change too, and that includes people my age, not just people my parents’ age as well. But I want to be hopeful for the future because I don’t want our beautiful earth to end up like the one in Wall-E where it’s filled with trash and we’re all just floating on a giant space cruise ship waiting for it be to habitable again.

3. What’s a story that really stuck with you?
I don’t know if I have a certain story that’s always stuck with me, as strange as that sounds. The one that I always think about is my mom’s, which I won’t share, since it’s her story to share and not mine. But her whole life has been a struggle, but she has persevered, always putting her family first, being completely selfless, but never losing that wonderful sense of kindness and thoughtfulness that she shares with everyone. The fact that her life hasn’t jaded her and she still has hope in other people, is so inspirational to me. She is literally my hero. Even though I wish she would stop being so selfless sometimes and start treating herself with some time for herself and some much needed self-care! (Which sometimes we have to force her to do!)

4. What’s your favorite trait about yourself?
My favorite trait… as someone with low-self esteem, this is a hard question to answer! I keep thinking of my worst traits, instead of my favorites. Redirect to the positive, brain! Hmm. I like the fact that I try to be kind. Even if someone is being really rude, I do try to treat the other person respectfully, because honestly, even in the face of an argument or a misunderstanding, there’s no reason to treat another person like trash. We’re all humans and equals and deserve to be treated as such. So I like to kill people with kindness! (But try not to be walked over either)

5. What is your hope for 2020?
My personal hope for 2020 (besides a new president. Hey, this is my blog and I’m allowed to have my own left-leaning opinion!) is for my blog and my life to flourish. I’ve been dealing with mental health issues all my life, and I really want to push myself to get out of my (un)comfortable comfort zone (people with anxiety know what I’m talking about!) and get my life started, whether with my blog, or with a job or some other purpose that fulfills me IRL. I guess I’m secretly hoping I can be a blogger and have it all that way, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up about that. But you never know what the new year holds! 2020!

Nominees!

Britt from Alternatively Speaking
Camila from Plaid and Sugar
Fran from Frantasmagoria
Anne from Rooting Branches
Daisy from The Dee Who Lived
Eleanor from Mxrshmallow Queen
Marie from Single Vegas Girl
Steph from Sometimes I Write
Kayleigh Zara from Kayleigh Zaraa

(Of course, my nominees have no obligation to do this tag if they’ve already done it or just aren’t into doing tags on their blogs. Just know that I nominated you all because I think so highly of each and every one of you and your respective blogs! But either way, whether they do the tag or not, please check out their blogs and subscribe! Each and every one of these bloggers has some amazing content that I know you’ll love!)

Questions for My Nominees

1. What is your favorite way to relax?
2. What is (one of) the most thoughtful thing someone has done for you?
3. If you could time travel, when would you most like to visit? And why?
4. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
5. What is the most ridiculous fact that you know?

Rules

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
2. List the rules.
3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Best Post!

This is such a personal post for me. Over the years, I’ve been wanting to be more honest about my struggles with mental health in order to be a mental health advocate, but for some reason, this post was not only so difficult for me to write, but also for me to share. But the positive responses I got back from other readers, made me realize that it was the right decision because I learned that I wasn’t the only one who suffers from this! While I don’t want anyone else to go through the same horrible thoughts and feelings that I have, it was reassuring to know that other people understood and we could all come together to commiserate but to also support one another.

That was my response to the Mystery Blogger Award! Much thanks again to Julie for nominating me! This tag was so much fun to write and I love the message behind it: this award is for bloggers who haven’t been discovered and/or deserve recognition! Though I did include some bigger name bloggers in my nominees, I believe that every blogger deserves even more praise and recognition for all of the hard work we put into our blogs, no matter how big or small of a blogger you are. So if you haven’t checked out any of the nominees I named, please do because I can promise you that you’ll LOVE their blogs!

What did you think of my tag/nomination for the Mystery Blogger Award? Have you ever been nominated/done the tag? What question of Julie’s or one of mine would you most like to answer? Let me know in the comments! (And your answer, of course!)

Stay Weird,
Emily


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Things To Do For Your Blog When You Just Don't Feel Like Writing That Blog Post


We’ve all been there. (I’m currently there right now!) Sometimes you just don’t want to work on a new blog post. (I know! That’s just something a blogger never wants to admit!) Maybe you’re lacking creativity, maybe you’re lacking the passion to write something interesting (because we all know it’s hard to fake enthusiasm, especially when you’re writing a post on your own blog!), or maybe you just came back from a cruise and are recovering from a cold you undoubtedly caught from being on a giant ship with over 4,000 people and their various germs (that one was totally about me. I blame small children and their sticky hands that have to touch every surface they can get their hands on. But other than that it was a fun cruise!).

But never fear! I have a few ideas that might be able to help you out! If you’re not exactly in the mood to write a blog post, there are other things that you can do for your blog, just so you’re still feeling productive and you’re still actively working on your blog (because it’s not just all about the blog posts, as we all know!). These tips will (hopefully!) help give you some ideas on how to refresh your blog and also maybe give you the time to come up with some new blog ideas by NOT thinking about trying to write a blog post. Because sometimes that actually works! But in the meantime, if you’re still struggling with writing a blog post, here are a few ways to still be productive and get some blogger sh*t done!

1. Fix Your Links

Broken links are no fun and not great for your blog either! (They can impact SEO and make for a bad user experience, obviously) But there are tons of free websites to help check out what links still work on your site (just Google it!) so you can fix them or delete them to make for a better, more professional appearing blog experience for your readers.

2. Write a New Bio

Whether it’s the mini bio on the front of your blog (you know, the one under that super cute picture of you!), or a longer one, we can all do for a fresh bio every now and again. Tell your readers a little bit about you, what your blog is about (especially if your interests or the niche of your blog or your interests have changed), and maybe a fun fact about you. (Are you a big anime reader? Disney fan? Avid collector and reader of books? Let your readers know!)

3. Write a New About Me Page

Your About Me page is like your bio, just obviously longer and more to do with your blog. You’re letting your readers know who you are, why you’re blogging, and what you’re blogging about (and why they should be reading your blog!). Let them know about you and your blog (again, especially if your blog niche or interests have changed, in a clear and engaging way- and obviously filled with your sparkling personality!). Let them know the real you and the mission statement about your blog. And don’t forget to include your e-mail address or some sort of contact form in case your readers or even a company wants to get in touch (PR packages? Um, yes please!).

4. Take a New Profile Picture

Photoshoot time! I’ve had the same blog profile picture for forever, and have not bothered to change it. #1: because I’m lazy, and #2: because I’m very un-photogenic and this was an adequate picture of myself. But even I know that you have to mix it up every now and again! So slap on some make-up (if that’s your thing. If not, work that fresh face!) and take some new photos! (Or if you’re very lucky, have someone else take them for you. That must be nice to have that trust in someone…)

5. Take New Pictures for Old Blog Posts

I am not the best photographer. There, I said it. I don’t own my own fancy camera, I just use my phone (and way before that, my iPod touch. Yes, I cringed while I typed that). My photo skills (and phone cameras in general) have gotten better over the years, but I still look back at my old photos in old posts and feel my body cringe with humiliation. So if your photo skills have improved, try your hand (again) at flat lays or other photos! It’s a great way to spruce up an old blog post and make it (seem) new again. Plus, you get to show off how far you’ve come since an iPod touch (again, that was me). And just a head’s up: there’s no shame in using stock images! Don’t let any other blogger tell you otherwise! You think those header photos are ones that I’ve taken? Pfft! Don’t make me laugh!

6. Remake Your Blog Headers

If you’re like me at all, I like my blog headers to have the same format. That’s not true for all bloggers, but for me, I like the consistency. But other bloggers are different, and that’s fine too. Though we could all use a (blog) spruce up every now and again, so why not your blog headers too? I used to make my old ones on Picmonkey (back when it was free) and I had NO idea what I was doing! I look back and sigh with embarrassment and maybe that’s how you feel too. So go ahead and get those artistic skills I know you have going by using some new photos to make new and fancy blog headers, with either your photos, stock photos (again, they’re very useful and professional looking!), and/or graphics. You’ll be amazed how fresh it’ll make your blog look! Especially if you’re changing themes or layouts too. Canva is a great free graphic source creator that I highly recommend, so give that a try if you haven’t already!

7. Revamp or Remake Your Pinterest Graphics

I’m still getting used to making Pinterest graphics on Canva, and let me tell you, I don’t have the best eye for design. But each time I make a new graphic for Pinterest, I’d like to think I’m getting better at it (slowly). So if you’re like me and are still learning and improving (I keep looking at other pins on Pinterest and think, “Ugh, why can’t I make thaaaat?” I can seriously see why some big time bloggers hire people to make their graphics!), or if you’ve already learned and improved, feel free to go back and redo some of your Pinterest graphics. You probably have an idea of what makes people click, so replace your old ones and make some eye-catching new ones to post on Pinterest to get people clicking on your pins!

8. Rework Those Tags/Labels to Make Sorting Your Blog Posts Easier for Your Readers

Tags (or labels) can be so important for helping your readers find a certain post. When I redid my blog, I really wanted to have a simple system consisting of just three tags (adventure, mental health, and real life) to divide my blog. But then once I started to post new blog posts, I remembered my old blog posts (I guess life isn’t so simple, is it?). So I made an archive tag. But that didn’t seem to be enough! So now I have around eight tags just so help sort out my posts and make it easier to group them together for others to read. Tags are great sources for your, but make sure your posts have the proper tags and aren’t mislabeled. Look over your posts and your tags, and delete or create new tags to best suit your blog!

9. Work on Making a Blogging Schedule

Whether you post once a week, twice a week, or every single day (how do you have time to do anything else, you superhuman??), we all know a blogging schedule can really help. From what days to post, to WHAT you post, a schedule can be your guide to arranging and rearranging the flow of your blog. Some people even have a schedule for when they post/promote on social media (see below for more on that)! Whether you use your phone, planner, or bullet journal, make sure you have your blogging posts in there so you know what to post and when! It’ll help you out in the long run and then your readers will know when to expect a new blog post.

10. Schedule Tweets or Posts for Your Blog

Ugh, scheduling tweets. The bane of my existence! I don’t know why this is such a pain for me, but I hate scheduling tweets promoting my blog posts. How do I sell my blog posts while also being entertaining and hook the audience but not run out of characters? But there is no doubt that scheduling tweets for blog posts (or for some other people, other social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram) can be a great way to grab people’s attention and bring traffic to your blog, without having to post right that minute. I personally use the free version of Buffer, which allows you to set up 10 tweets at a time (4 going out per day, which I think is a great amount to grab people’s attention but not bog down someone’s Twitter timeline). Hootsuite also has the same plan, and I’ve heard Tweetdeck is also popular. Scheduling tweets is an excellent way to get your blog out there, but without tweeting in real time (it’s like a crockpot. Set it and forget it!). I usually check and update my Buffer queue every night to keep the tweets running!

11. Update or Rework Old Content

Like I said earlier about taking some new blogging photos to revamp your blog, working on your old content can be a great way to update your blog. Fix any old links, reformat your text (it’s so much nicer if everything on your blog matches!), and update any old information. You could even, if you want to, take an old blog post and give it a new spin. It’s completely up to you, but that can really give new life (and views) to a years old post (because that was then and this is now and you’re a different person now!). Give it a try and see if it helps!

12. Comment on Other People’s Blogs

I know what you’re thinking: “I already comment on other people’s blogs! How is that going to help me?” Well, just listen to my reasoning and see if it makes any sense (it does in my head): I find so much inspiration in just reading other bloggers' posts. From the creativity that comes with a well-written and interesting post, to the way their enthusiasm jumps out through my laptop screen, I can’t help but be swept up in their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and perspectives. It gives me that hope in myself that I can do that too. It actually sometimes gets my mind in gear, thinking of ideas, what I could write on a similar subject, what kind of personal spin I could put on it. I’m not saying to copy other bloggers, but to gain inspiration and enthusiasm from their engaging writing I would say is highly encouraged! And very helpful, if I do say so myself. So check out other’s blogs, leave them a comment on their great post, and start thinking. You never know when a great idea may come, so jot it down, and if you’re inspired by it, start writing that blog post right away! It could be a really good one! (But again, just for the record's sake: do not copy other bloggers ideas! Be inspired by their writing, but DO NOT COPY!)

Phew! Those were just a few ideas I had about some productive things to do for your blog instead of writing a blog post! I hope they were helpful and encouraged you to freshen up your blog and maybe, just maybe, bring you a little bit of inspiration to write that blog post you know you have to get around to writing eventually (which you can totally do and don’t let your pesky brain tell you otherwise!). As for me, this list has reminded me that I am long due to totally revamp my blog and spruce it up, so I should take my own advice and get on that! You know, after I've watched a couple of episodes of the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I still have that cold, remember!

Have you ever been in that blogging rut where you know you should write a blog post but you just don’t want to? If so, what things did you do to get around it? Did you do some of the things that I recommended, or did you do something else? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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Unboxing: Cherry Wallis & Geek Gear's Curation of Magical Curiosities CHRISTMAS Box


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… meaning my Curation of Magical Curiosities Christmas box from Cherry Wallis and Geek Gear finally came! If you haven’t seen my first review/unboxing of Cherry’s first collab with Geek Gear, you can read it here. But for Cherry and Geek Gear’s second collab, they did a Christmas edition of the Curation of Magical Curiosities box and I couldn’t be more thrilled! What’s better than Harry Potter at any time? Harry Potter at Christmas time!

Before we begin, for those of you who may not know, Cherry Wallis is a British YouTuber who focuses on all things Harry Potter (and who I adore so you should go subscribe to her!) and Geek Gear is a British based subscription box company who has a fan-based (not official) Wizardry Box. Cherry and Geek Gear teamed up to do the first one time box of Curation of Magical Curiosities box back in late August/early September, and right after I received my box (and posted my review!), Cherry announced that she would be doing another Curation of Magical Curiosities box, but this time it was Christmas themed! So I just knew I had to get it. (Treat yo self, right??)

Cherry and Geek Gear offered it in a classic sized box with seven items in it or a Maxima box with eleven items in it, but both still very magical. I decided on the Maxima box (again, treat yo self and also an early Christmas present to myself!). I’ve been trying my hardest not to see any spoilers until I opened my own box (which is very difficult because people in England always get theirs first, and Cherry did her own unboxing of the Christmas edition on her channel, so it was torture NOT to watch), but the owl post finally delivered it this week and I am ready to share my thoughts and excitement about the box!

*FYI, I bought this box with my own money, so all opinions and thoughts about it are my own. And still would be even if this box or any other subscription box was gifted to me. Ahem, subscription box companies!*

**Also, I again apologize for my photography skills. There’s only so much my phone plus a photo editing app can do!**

First, the box came in wrapping and I, of course, was very excited to see the Royal Mail sign on it. It’s official! It came from England! My anglophile/Harry Potter heart was aflutter!


And then came the box itself! It looked just like the first one, except for a giant Christmas bow on top. Plus, it came with a poster tube along with it in the bag. I vaguely remember Cherry tweeting saying that one of the items didn’t arrive on time, and that makes me wonder if that’s why the tube wasn’t in the box. (Or if it just didn't fit! Most likely that it didn't fit.) But what could be in said box and tube?? Let’s open and see!




The first thing I saw when I opened the box was a bunch of Christmas colored “wiggly worms,” as Cherry calls them, along with what looks to be a card wishing Neville a Happy Christmas (I always love the British way of saying “Happy Christmas” instead of “Merry Christmas!”). So cute!


On the back of the Christmas card for Neville, there was a note from Cherry:

“Dear Friend,

‘I couldn’t risk sending Hedwig. Ever since the World Cup the Ministry’s been intercepting more and more owls and she’s too easily recognised.' - Sirius

That reminds me, did you feed the owl upon arrival? It’s quite cold this winter and it’s flown quite the journey to get to you.

I can’t believe the festive season has arrived, it’s the most wonderful time of year don’t you think?

This year has been filled with such magic, and our community is thriving. Our Wizarding World has some of the most incredible, passionate, and kindhearted wizards and witches within it, and I’d like to say a huge thank you for all of your support with the Curation of Magical Curiosities this year.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a very magical New Year!

Always,
Cherry”

How sweet! Cherry is such a sweetheart and so sincere and lovely! I know she puts her heart and soul and all of her creative juices into these boxes, so I know I can expect nothing but the best from her! I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

After lifting up Neville’s Christmas card, I got to see the box. So many packages of various sizes and lots of wiggly worms!


I picked up this small package first, which I thought was adorable. I loved the designs on the box, with the flying keys, snitches, stars, and snowflakes! But to my great surprise was what was in the box!


It was a flying key ornament! I’ve been dying to do my own little Harry Potter themed Christmas tree and have been collecting ornaments for it for a few years now, but have been wanting a flying key to put on it! I even bought a key ornament to make my own flying key, but now I have an official one! And I love how it even has the Deathly Hallows set into the top! What a great little way of making it even more Harry Potter-esque! And of course, Cherry would have included a flying key, since she loves them so much! They’re honestly one of my favorite images from the books/movies, too.


After a great start to the box, I moved on to the next little package. I loved the design of this one as well. It looked like just a simple box that an owl might deliver, brown and covered with string. I thought it was a cute touch to have the Owl Post stamp on the top, too! But I was even more thrilled to see what was inside!



It was Neville’s Remembrall! This must have gone with his Christmas card! In case you’ve forgotten, Neville received this from his Gran in the first book/movie, and the Remembrall glows red if you’ve forgotten something. Mine is clear, thank goodness, so I haven’t forgotten anything important just now, but the design and quality, even though it’s plastic, is just so amazing!



Next up was a pin! If you don’t have a pin in a Harry Potter subscription box, is it really a Harry Potter subscription box? This one was so cute! It’s a Christmas wreath, with the Hogwarts “H” on top, a lightning bolt dangling in the middle, and a snitch at the bottom. Plus, they have little faux House colored jewels on it and in the green of the wreath, there’s a Deathly Hallows symbol, plus glasses, snitches, stars, and lightning bolts. It’s so festive and jolly! I know Cherry loves her pins and I’m sure she’s thrilled to add this to her collection, just as I am! She designed it with Amelia, who you can find over on Instagram as @Amelia_B83.


Another box I picked up was a checkered box with a crown on it. Hmm. I was genuinely confused to see what could be on the inside until I opened it. Duh! Of course!


It was a queen chess piece from Wizard’s chess! Now the crown makes sense! I’ve never been a chess fan, but I loved in the first book how Ron teaches Harry how to play the pretty violent Wizard version of chess, and we all remember in the first movie how appalled Hermione is when she sees Ron and Harry playing it during Christmas time. (“Hermione: That’s totally barbaric!” Ron: “That’s Wizard’s chess!” The detail on the queen is pristine and so defined. I’m very impressed by how quality it looks! Wow, I honestly can’t wait to display this piece, (Wizard’s) chess fan or not. (Also, I like how worried she looks. Literally me as a chess piece.)


After the queen chess piece, I saw a pretty giant wrapped present. Ooh! I was intrigued! What was inside? It seemed pretty soft…


It was a Molly Weasley-inspired scarf! It’s nice and long and has the perfect 70’s colored yarn that just screams “Molly Weasley made this!” Thankfully, the 70’s colors translate well to autumnal colors, with the orange, darker reds, and very dark green. I honestly was really surprised and pleased at how nice and authentic this piece is. I can’t wait to add it to my scarf collection and finally get to wear it when it cools off here! (It’s still not that cold out here in the desert.)


The next item was wrapped in bubble wrap, so I had a pretty good hunch it was going to be a bit fragile. And when I unwrapped the bubble wrap, the most pretty decorated box was awaiting me. Could it be Yule Ball themed with those colors and two dancers at the bottom?


Yes, it was! And not only that, it was a clear glass pumpkin juice bottle, inspired from the fourth film! With a blue bottom and a silver snowflake on the side, this bottle looks like it was just picked up by a student after a night at the Yule Ball! I even love how the pumpkin stopper on top comes off! If you’ve been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Universal Studios, you’ll have seen very similar bottles like this at their Yule Ball set up, and I’m sure Cherry was inspired by it. I absolutely love the item and the craftsmanship of it is just off the charts!



Could it get better than the Yule Ball version of a bottle of pumpkin juice? Possibly! The next box probably has my favorite design out of all of the packages included in this entire box. It looks like a package wrapped up in brown paper, but with white holly leaves and red berries decorating the paper. With tied printed string and a tag that says “Happy Christmas, Harry!” and “Happy Christmas, Ron!” on it, I was absolutely dying to know what was inside if it was for both of them.



It was a set of gloves! One blue with an “H” on it for Harry, and the other maroon with an “R” on it for Ron! Inspired by the famous sweaters that Molly Weasley makes for all of her children (including her surrogate son Harry), I now have the cutest pair of mismatched best friend gloves! Too cute! Also, my style has always been a bit on the quirky side, so having two mismatched gloves isn’t so far off for me (no wonder I’m a Ravenclaw!).


The next item I saw was a Chudley Cannon pennant! Chudley Cannons is Ron’s favorite Quidditch team that seems to always lose their matches, but Ron loves them anyway. I remember in the books Ron’s bedroom at home is decorated all orange in honor of Chudley Cannons, which seemed to clash with his ginger hair. But I can see Ron hanging this pennant up next to his bed in the Gryffindor dormitory! So original and a great display piece!


I then saw a rather long and shiny/glittery envelope (which was super hard to take a picture of, so forgive me for not having one) and inside was an invitation to the Yule Ball!




Both sides of it are utterly gorgeous, with shiny gold foiling designs and the prettiest blue color, and it then opens up to reveal details about the Yule Ball, including the date, what to wear, etc. According to Cherry it was designed by Danny from MuggleMagicDIY. What a gorgeous replica! I feel like I’ve been invited to the Ball myself and now have to find a date. Um. Awkward. I now know how Harry felt trying to ask Cho, getting rejected, and then trying to find another date. I think maybe I’ll just go with some gal friends and focus on what dress robes I’ll wear!

The poster at the very bottom of the box that I had to literally turn the box upside down to get (worth it!), was of a lovely painting of a Howler (if you can call a Howler lovely), painted by Miss Cherry Wallis herself! In the first Curation of Magical Curiosities box, she painted a very pretty picture of a Mandrake, which I love, and this Howler print is no exception. I can’t wait to put it up for all to see!


And for the last item (sad!), I finally picked up the poster tube to see what was inside. And lo and behold, it was in fact a poster! For the Yule Ball!


Created by the same person who designed the Yule Ball invitation, Danny from MuggleMagicDIY, this poster is so gorgeous, I’m honestly in shock! It was hard to take a picture of, since I had to use items to prop it open, or else it would keep curling, haha. But it described what would happen at each stroke of the hour, such as “At the First Wand Stroke, Lead Your Partner to the Dance Floor” and “At the Fourth Wand Stroke, Witch and Wizard of the Ball Will Be Announced.” So creative and beautiful! I also liked how at the bottom is said “Strictly Dress to Impress. See Professor McGonagall for details.” Danny really hit it out of the park with this one! I honestly can’t wait to frame this one. Actually, I think I have a lot of framing to do in my future from these boxes!

And last but not least, the cheat sheet with all the information about the items by Cherry!






All in all, the Christmas edition of Curation of Magical Curiosities Maxima version had eleven items and I honestly was so impressed by each and every one of them! They were all so Christmas-y and winter-y! Cherry outdid herself once again! It’s going to be so hard for me to pick which one I loved the most, because I loved each and every one of them in their own way. I definitely loved the glass Yule Ball pumpkin juice bottle. So beautiful! But I also loved the flying key ornament (again, perfect for my mini Harry Potter Christmas tree!), the Remembrall, the Harry and Ron gloves, and the Yule Ball poster. Okay, basically, I just love them all! And I'm not going to lie, I'm going to keep ALL of these amazing packages the items came in! I just love the designs, I can't throw them out! Cherry has such great taste that I knew her boxes would be fantastic and they’re basically the only Harry Potter subscription boxes I buy (unless a Harry Potter subscription box would like to send me a free box or two in exchange for an honest review. Ahem…).




That was my unboxing and review of Cherry Wallis and Geek Gear’s Curation of Magical Curiosities Christmas edition Harry Potter box! It really got me in the mood for the upcoming holiday season and I really, really hope she ends up doing another box! What did you think of all of the fun trinkets that were inside?? Which one was your favorite? And let me know if you watch Cherry Wallis and have bought one of her boxes before! I’d love to know!

Stay Weird,
Emily


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