Not A Socialite: An Ode to Misconceptions

Social media makes it all too easy for you to think something is something that it isn't. It can give you false ideas about people, places, and events. It's especially dangerous when it comes to only sharing the highlights and shiny parts of your life (FOMO, anyone?). For the most part, we all want to be liked. We want everyone else to think that we're enjoying our lives, succeeding at our dreams, and having a grand old time. Social media can lead us to believe all sorts of incorrect stories and identities. We start constructing how we perceive others to be by putting them in boxes that make sense to us: nerd, workaholic, partier, homebody, socialite. Since grade school, I've been a person that greatly dislikes being put into boxes. And at one point last year, someone referred to me as a socialite in a negative manner and they couldn't be further from the truth.

Do y'all know about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test? It's been a fad for several years now, and it's almost as pervasive as astrology when it comes to people trying to put you in a box. You meet someone new these days and they automatically want to know what your Myers-Briggs type is. Between being told by others what they thought I was, and taking the test once, I was pegged as an ENFP at first, and then later, an ENFJ. The only important part (for the purpose of this post) to remember out of this acronym is the E - because it stands for Extraversion. Being extraverted generally means that you pull energy from that of others, you enjoy being in group settings, and you feel comfortable being in or near the center of attention. 

People might assume that I'm a socialite or an extravert because I am "out" while DJing and go to events here and there around the city. For the most part, I consider DJing to be a job (that I love), so just because I'm up until 3am some weekends doesn't mean I want to be out amongst the stumblers, ramblers, and generally tipsy type. DJing doesn't mean you are or want to be the center of attention, either. I spin for the love of music and to help others enjoy themselves while out. Nothing is more satisfying than a full crowd at a bar, bumping along to the music you're playing. In addition to DJing, many of the events I have attended in the past few years around Saint Louis have been connected to blogging, which I too consider a job. 

Toss in my friendly charisma, and you have a strong case for this whole socialite/ENFJ gibberish.

Enter my therapist. Recently, we talked about how I have felt that my energy had been completely sapped by this past year. She asked if I preferred one-on-one time with people and partners rather than in big groups, and I answered yes. She asked if I feel like I need to recharge by being at home, and if I hit "a wall" while being in busy environments for too long. I also answered yes to these. And then she said, "So, you must be an introvert." 

I replied, "Wait. I've always thought I'm an extravert."
She said, "Are you sure?" 

Surprise! I'd been beginning to wonder this myself. Over the last several months, I would fall apart after being over-stimulated at busy bars while not DJing/working. Being in groups of people might make me feel neglected or alone because I thrive on those one-on-one interactions. Everyone seemed to constantly assume I could go, go, go until the sun would rise, when in fact you might discover me clutching the edge of the bar whispering aloud to no one, "I just want to go home." But how could I be what seemed like such the opposite of who I (and apparently many people who knew me) thought I was? 

I was temporarily beyond confused. You could find me hiding in my bed for nearly two weeks on end every second that I wasn't at work. The realization that I had been trying conduct myself as an ENFJ while I was most likely not one opened floodgates of accidental understanding. Suddenly, a whole lot of the mess I was sifting through while healing made quite a bit more sense. 

I talked with a friend a weeks ago about losing yourself. A sense of self-loss can be brought about by many things, and although her situation and mine are not equal - because every human experiences different journeys - they are similar in response to grief and healing. I wouldn't say that right now I don't know who I am, because I have worked throughout my life to "know" me. I know where my morals, ethics, dreams, and passions lie. Even in my darkest moments, I can remind myself what makes me "me." I'm very proud of not changing for the worse, when it would have been so easy to lash out at those who have hurt me. If you work to know your true self, doesn't that mean that you ARE your best self?

If you spend a good chunk of time trying to fit into a box that is mislabeled, eventually things may get a little muddy. I still not 100% certain about this Myers-Briggs hullabaloo, but I do now further grasp how it can help you evaluate how you relate to others. I won't fully ever subscribe to this idea that your assigned letters describe you completely. Thanks to therapy, and a little self-reflection, however, I'm much closer to understanding the parts of myself that have largely been ignored or dismissed due to a silly box with a sticker that says ENFJ. 

And now? I'm looking forward to getting to know my introverted self better. 


Photo: A. Gillardi Photo

On Being Purposely Uncomfortable

We've all heard inspirational quotes referring to instances of struggle leading to a happy ending, right? Today, I've been spending a lot of time with Florence + The Machine's "Shake it Out" and the particular line "It's always darkest before the dawn." This song comes back to me again and again, whether it be by way of shuffle or the afore-mentioned line creeping into my mind. 

At the end of last week, I started feeling dragged down, lethargic, and emotionally quiet. I chalked it up to being over-stimulated by social happenings, but then Sunday morning I woke up with the head cold to end all head colds. By Monday morning, I was a walking, certifiable mess. I could barely stay upright for fear of the congestion knocking me back over. All I could stomach was Campbell's chicken noodle soup. That night, I stood under my shower's waterfall, shaking in exhaustion. 

Here's a fun fact about me: I'm terribly temperature sensitive. Hot water will send me screeching to the hills, and I am forever skittish around cold pool water even on the warmest of days. However, I know it's beneficial to steam out congestion if you can when you're sick, so I stepped into my shower and cranked that sucker up pretty damn high. 

I cried because I was uncomfortable, I cried because I was tired, I cried because I felt silly for staying home from work, I cried because my friend Maddy was kind enough to agree to bring over "get better" supplies, I cried because I forgot to bring my face wash into the bathtub. 

As I was wrapping myself up in my towel, sniffling through tears, I realized I most definitely could breathe more easily. I was red as a tomato from the heat of the water, but I also no longer felt like my head was going to pop from the pressure inside. 

So then I cried some more.

Society conditions us to avoid being vulnerable. We're taught from an early age to never give up, to push through pain, to always be on top. But there will come days when a head cold knocks you off your feet and you have to be honest with yourself and choose to stay home from work. It's probably best for your coworkers, too, but you feel like you somehow let them down, even when you do your best to complete your work remotely. You'll toss and turn all night and have strange dreams that feel too close to reality, but they slip through your fingers as you fumble to turn off your alarm in the afternoon sunlight. You'll open can of worm conversations because you're trying your best to understand situations you'll never grasp. You'll feel ashamed that you napped for three hours in the middle of the day, even though it helped you feel monumentally better. 

And in the end - you might learn that there is strength in stepping into a hot shower on purpose because you know that it will help, no matter how much it hurts at the time.

A Hungover Love Letter For My Party People

Dear Party People,

I'm writing you a love letter today. Why, you ask? Because sometimes, the world tells you that you shouldn't stay out until 3am, have that next shot, or stay in bed until 12pm on Saturday. Every once in a while, you'll be asked to grow up, leave your late nights behind, and be productive earlier than is physically possible for you on a weekend. But you know what? It's okay. I believe in you. I believe that you are still able to be responsible when you need to be, pay your bills (mostly) on time, and take care of your fur babies.

Let me digress a moment - I think I did this all backwards. I didn't drink before I turned 21. I can honestly count on one hand how many "illegal" beverages I imbibed before I entered the golden age of Youthful Sobriety. Yeah, yeah... I was a goody-two-shoes and saved my parents from the headaches of underaged drinking problems. Not to say that I didn't cause them headaches in other ways - love you, Mom and Dad! Even after I came of age, I didn't drink all that much. I waited until I moved out and lived with a friend, and then began to "hit the clubs." We would take turns being the designated driver and it worked out perfectly. Then I dated a bartender for a few years and upped the ante on twilight shenanigans, learned more about which liquors I can trust, and that Gatorade is my best friend on weekend mornings. As much fun as that relationship was while it lasted, I've leveled up even further on party mode now that I'm single.

Actually, being single is probably one of the best things you can do for you. Sure, I do like being a good girlfriend to someone, and sharing in the awesomeness that comes along with having a partner, but at the same time - I understand that it's also okay to be alone. And being on your own allows you to do whatever you want, whenever you want. That includes getting home from work on Friday, sleeping from 6 - 11pm, and then hitting your usual haunting grounds at 12:30am. That includes buying shots for your DJ pals, dancing with your friends, and falling asleep fully clothed and in your entire face of makeup. 

Having a lot of fun also includes busting your knee wide open. Waking up in the morning, peeling off your already torn-up stockings, and realizing that you probably could have used stitches but never felt a thing. 

Every once in a while I'll hear someone say, "Damn, I'm so glad I grew out of that phase." I don't ever want to grow out of this phase. This isn't a phase at all. This is knowing my limits, testing them, and suffering the consequences. This is being young, human, and enjoying my life to my fullest. Sure, I definitely get more terrible hangovers at the age of 27 than I did at 21, but now I know to get my tush out of bed, put my big girl pants on (ahem, leggings), and march across the street to the corner market and buy Gatorade. It doesn't matter if I look like Hell warmed over while doing it, at least I'm taking care of my business. 

I like to have fun. I like to hang out with my friends, support DJ buddies, and I'm basically halfway nocturnal now. That's my lifestyle. I'm also focused on being creative on my own time, maintaining amazing friendships (shoutout to Marisa for putting up with my hungover self this morning), furthering my career, learning new hobbies, loving on my family, and so much more. Just because I like to party doesn't mean that I'm any less of a functioning, normal citizen. 

So, my party people, I ask you to support one another. Even if those party people are sober. Even if they are not. Even if they party in a different manner than you. Don't judge them. Step in if you feel it's necessary for their health or safety, but otherwise give them a mental high five when they manage to make it into work on Monday in one piece. 

Keep up the good work, y'all.

 

Love,
Jillian

 

 

 

When Your Love Is Safe/Your Hope Is Gone

- Don't wanna be in love just with anybody - 

Warning: This post has all of the feels. It has some serious realness. I'm glad you're along on this journey with me, and if you can stick it out until the end, you'll learn a little about love, and a lot about what has shaped me into the person I am now. It technically qualifies as a Tune Tuesday post, because all of the highlighted lines are lyrics, and the images stills from music videos. Ready? Let's do this. 


Music is so absolutely incredible. People who don't find relief, comfort, solace, or hiding spaces within music are strangers to me. An ex-boyfriend once told me his parents didn't listen to music while he was growing up. He has no memories of them playing music in the car, talking about bands or groups, or engaging in conversation about albums. How is that possible? Are you so comfortable to be constantly entrenched in your own thoughts that music simply does not appeal to you? How do you escape the frustration of the everyday world? What do you do when you just cannot sit in silence? How do you deal with heartbreak?

In 2011, my darling friend Elizabeth introduced me to Active Child, which is the musical project of Pat Grossi. Armed with an electric angel's voice, harp, and dreamy pop tendencies, Grossi's sounds wormed their way into my heart. I spent countless nights listening to the album You Are All I See on vinyl in Elizabeth's living room while her sweet husband cooked dinner and we drank wine. Sometimes we drank so much wine we ended up on the porch during those thick, muggy Saint Louis summer nights, smoking cigarettes and laughing until our ribs turned to rattling, brittle cages. Time spent with Elizabeth was time meant to cast out memories. 

- Just trying to forget, but this ain't no ordinary love - 

At this point, I was newly single. I had spent the past 6 years weaving in and out of a relationship that was so gravity-based, I can't even begin to tell you how I survived. We were two comets that collided in our teenage years - in the most literal sense. I crashed headfirst into him on a water slide at the pool we both lifeguarded at. We were too young, too inexperienced, and too close to see that we couldn't be what the other person really needed for so, so long. The relationship suffered from differences, insecurity, and finally, long distance that crumbled to pieces between Saint Louis, Missouri and Lansing, Michigan.

I'd often ride home at night crying, muffled, through Tower Grove park on a hand-me-down baby pink bicycle that Elizabeth gifted to me. I blasted Active Child's You Are All I See through my headphones, catching onto every phrase and every lyric that so perfectly matched my emotions. Everything was so completely, overwhelmingly uncertain. Which way to go next? I would lift my feet from the pedals and spin along dizzing paths through the trees. I'd shove my bicycle into the basement of the apartment I shared with my best friend, wash the tears away, and crawl haphazardly into bed. I had loved too much, too deeply, too wildly. I had thought we could make it. I had thought he felt the same. When you feel that your love is safe, sometimes it means it's the exact opposite. Sometimes that feeling prefaces a great unraveling in your actual safety net. How ever could I deal with the heartbreak I felt at the time?

- This is happening, this is happening - 

This past November, I met up with that teenaged love for coffee. We rarely speak. I sent him a "happy holidays" message in December and never received a reply. Before we saw each other in person, our contact was limited to sporadic texts. He has been dating the same young woman for a couple years now. He is studying to be a doctor. The day before we met up just recently, I had broken it off with my only other long-term boyfriend. They both have the same first name, and the same first middle initial. Life and love are strange beasts. Before we parted ways, my teenaged love admitted to me, for the first time ever, that he had just not been ready to fully commit. That he had not been ready for me to move to Michigan to be with him. He went on to say that at about the age of 27 (my current age), he had looked around, realized a lot of his peers were "settling down," and he felt left out. He said he thought he was getting old and needed to be serious about finding a partner again. Now he's 30, living in a house with a girlfriend, a dog, and a career ahead of him. Did he jump into all of that for fear of being left out? Is he cultivating a true, honest relationship from love, or from dreading being alone?

- Wish that I could change enough to be yours - 

No one will change to be with you. When your chest aches so terribly at midnight on a bike in Tower Grove Park that you can't tell whether it's your loneliness or your poor stamina, you try to wrap your mind fully around that concept. A man can tell you within weeks of meeting you that he will change for no one, and will always be a bartender - and you will accept that. Over two years later, your branches have grown and shot in every direction possible, and his haven't budged. They haven't even blossomed. Nothing about him has changed. His ambition, his dreams, his willingness to learn more about you, his effort put into understanding you. Your blog takes on an important role in your life - he admits to never reading it because it's "only about stuff women like." You begin DJing as a way to have fun, become more involved with music, and perhaps have something to share with him - he only comes to two of your gigs ever, and once basically by accident because he locked himself out of his apartment. You send him songs you think he'd like or might mesh well with his live sets via email, text, Facebook message, you name it - and he almost never listens to them. You learn quickly that you crave genuine support and true camaraderie, and the lack of those things in your relationship is causing you to wilt and lose color. 

You learn that you are a crooked little creature. Your tail has been stepped on so many times, and yet you continue to loft it above like a flag of victory. You come out on the other side of your last relationship rather astonished that you just did not listen to the warnings directly from the horse's mouth. And you are confused for his future romantic interests. 

- I just can't keep hanging on to you and me - 

I want to be chosen. I want someone to meet me, get along with me, understand that I too am interested in them, and look at me and think, "THAT ONE." I want to eventually be chosen day in and day out, and not only hear from my partner every 12 hours because he's a bartender who takes smoke breaks to visit with his friends, but can't be bothered to text me "Hey beautiful, I know you're asleep, but I just wanted to say I love you." And I think many, if not most, of us wants something similar.

I do currently enjoy being single, because it means I don't have to be uncertain at this time.  And I do also understand that being in a solid, honest, open, communication-based relationship means that you are not uncertain.

You are not worried about your tail being stepped on once again. 

You are not worried about being told that you talk too much. When in reality, your ex-boyfriend kept dating you even though he barely spoke at all while you were together, which then in turn caused you to do all the talking... which in turn ended up with you being told "Sometimes I just want to say, 'Woman, you talk too damn much!'"

Your love for yourself is safe. And hope is not gone. Because maybe one day you'll find someone who isn't afraid to be real, honest, open, and ambitiously step in stride with you.

Until then, drink your wine, do your yoga, cuddle with your puppy, write on your blog, DJ your parties, and don't give a rat's tush what anyone else is doing or thinking. 


 

Dinky Dissertation on Different Directions

Things have been shifting a lot in my life lately. I think everyone has a habit of ruminating on the past year as December settles in. I recall writing a mini, abstract manifesto about taking time for myself as last winter drew to a close. This is similar to that. So, if you really only come to this blog to look at my silly clothing choices and enjoy my addiction to beauty products, you might be a bit disappointed where this is headed.

I've always been hesitant to write about relationships in a public zone because they can be so volatile. In fact, the last one I was in stretched out across almost exactly three years, with one break tossed in for good measure because that's just how I roll - hot mess style. One reason I don't mind bringing this up is that this fellow admitted to never reading my blog, and basically not even remotely being interested in it (I'd actually be surprised if he ever came across this post). "It's all about stuff for women," he'd say. I would not expect a boyfriend to be my most fanatic reader, as this blog mostly does focus on fashion and beauty. However, what was lacking in a glaring manner was his support. 

The relationship's end left me very thoughtful about what is most important to me in a future long-term partner, as well is in all other facets of my life. I left with one very obvious takeaway:

                                                    No one defines you but yourself.

I attended a tasting tour last night at the Whole Foods Market near to the Galleria Mall (thank you so much for hosting us, Kali!), and right before the tour ended, a stranger asked Carylee, Jenna, and me what our blogs were about. "Fashion" and "lifestyle" were the words we used. Although these words are not incorrect, it occurred to me that I feel sort of trapped by the guidelines I've set for myself. I set out to make this blog about more than just pretty clothes, makeup, and the occasional blurb about music I like. There is so much more to me than those things, and I feel like I'm missing the mark when it comes to expressing myself fully here. Even if that means posting pantless photos with puppy.

From here on out, expect more from this blog. Expect more from me. I hope to start sharing more from my life - vignettes, thoughts, ramblings, photo stories, recipes, inspirations, aspirations, and so much more. I want to share my whole self on this little online storybook of mine. You've been warned!

How a Hashtag Helped Me Love My Legs (Now Posted on What the Doost!?)

A new post is up on my darling friend Gina's blog, What the Doost!? Much of what I will be sharing with the WTD community, and in turn with you, my loves, is going to be a bit more personal. These posts on WTD will be insights into my personal life, and thoughts I may not openly and explicitly share. I'm glad you're on this journey with me! I hope you don't mind hearing more about what's going on inside my head! 

Today's post on WTD!? is a serious one with a silly twist. Many, if not most, of us struggle with loving our bodies wholly and unconditionally. I love my body and how it gets me from point A to point B, and is overall incredibly healthy. The world throws expectations of beauty at us daily, and I'm working hard on accepting my body for the beauty that it is. Learn more about my personal crusade to love myself inside and out with the use of a fun by clicking the button:

On Taking Time For Myself As Winter Ends

This winter has felt especially cold, in more ways than just the temperature. I've struggled with finances, staying on task, and having direction. I've let responsibilities fall by the wayside, and I've had a difficult time picking them back up. I've become stagnant, content to sit on the couch and watch Netflix all night. See, binge-watching Netflix is totally fine, but you need to balance that out with accomplishing necessary tasks as well. I haven't been so great at the balancing act. 

I relish these cold and snowy days, even though I do long for spring. I wish for the renewal it brings and the sense of turning over a new leaf, which is a obvious matter as the leaves truly are new. I adore these long nights with tea at midnight, cocktails by fires, and loads of scarves. But I desire the long days that inspire me to work harder. I need the daylight. I need the sunshine to push me to stay motivated and productive.

Consider this my mini, abstract manifesto. That I will move forward and not look back. Forgive myself for what I have let fall into the darkness during these winter months. I will spend more time on Sundays sleeping in, cuddling with my pup, reading my 1896-dated copy of Washington Irving's The Sketch Book, listening to my thrifted vinyl, and drinking Irish Breakfast Tea.