Jan 2018

There Are Some Things Only You Can Forgive

After my last post about my abusive ex boyfriend in April Told Me to Write”, the overwhelming reaction was 100% positive and supportive. I was scared to death to make it public. Right before, I had been texting my 20 year old sister asking her if I was doing the wrong thing, if everyone would just say that I was a stupid girl, and that I deserved what I got for the choices I had made.

But not a single person reacted that way.

18,201 people saw my tweet and and 1,305 unique people read my post. That is enough. That was enough for fellow victims of his, ranging from abusive to be scammed out of money, reached out to me to share their story with me. Other professionals in his circle informed me that they have shared my story to their colleagues. And after 7 years I spoke to his ex wife for the first time.

If you remember from my previous post, I met Pietro Filipponi in July 2011 when I was 21 and he was 28. I knew he had an ex wife, but she told me that they were not divorced until 2 years into my “relationship” with him. That he had not done 99% of the things he had led me to believe about his previous life experiences.

She shared how that she was a strong, independent woman and yet even she had suffered from his constant mental abuse. When I emailed her, her first reply was that she had sincerely wished that I was reaching out to tell her that he was dead. From her story, I do not blame her.

Myself, however, I am finally free. It has been almost 4 years since I last saw him, and yet I’ve had weekly nightmares about stalking me, using the FBI to hunt me down to kidnap and torture me. I would wake up at night, shaking, clinging to my boyfriend Steve out of desperation and relief. A weight and fear I ignored for so long, was let go after I spoke to his ex wife. It was a validation that Filipponi is a monster, but a spineless and powerless one. That he was wrong every single time he told me I was worthless, because he was simply using his own lack of self worth and projecting it on me – and everyone around him.

Kesha performed her breathtaking single “Praying” at the Grammy’s last night, with an army of women behind her. She poured her heart out on that stage, speaking out for every women who has ever felt reduced to nothing by a man. And how these men will never mean anything in history.

 

 

The performance here is profound because you can tell she means every word with every fiber of her being. But if you haven’t, check out the original record because god damn are those vocals insane (go to 3:15 for that high note). I think it would be have been too hard to go all out on the singing while on the verge of cathartic tears at the Grammy’s, so I don’t blame her.

For obvious reasons, I feel deeply connected to this song:

I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
‘Cause I can make it on my own, oh
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name

You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

The only difference, is that I don’t hope Filipponi finds his peace. I know he is reading this. He has not spoken out online since my post and I know he has seen this. He deserves to be tormented by the memories of all the people he has treated inhumanely. I don’t think a sociopath can change.

However, I let it go. In the past few days I have found that the anger, fear, shame, hatred, and desire for revenge slipped away. I am proud of who I am today. That man will never haunt my dreams or my conscious from here on out. This was never meant to be a “witch hunt” or a quest put this man in jail. This is the last time I will spend any of my time on that pathetic little man.

Some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive

I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in the foundation of support my new friends that I have made. I believe in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, not for being a trend but a safe space for the rest of us to speak out.

If you are reading this, stay away from Pietro Filiponi, age 35, currently living in New York City. If what I went through can be saved from being meaningless; let this story be heard and save other

young women from him.

I have said my peace, and tonight I will sleep without terror.

April Told Me to Write.

(This piece contains graphic descriptions and topics. Readers be advised.)

April told me to write. She is fierce and strong and young. I would not have been as strong as she is if I was her age and this had happened to me. I don’t know what to do. There is a current trend of women taking down men; high profile accusations happening every day. I am not here for the trend but I do have a story to tell. I don’t know how.

April told me to write. So I will try.

For three years I was in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship by a man named Pietro Filipponi. Pietro Filipponi is a sociopath, a thief, a liar, and a rapist. A few months ago a doctor told me that I had a protruding disk in my upper spine, causing full body nerve pain. This could only have happened from a direct injury to my neck. This sociopath is the one that did this.

But let’s start at the beginning.

In July 2011 I was a 21 year old, still in college, and working for a comic shop in Times Square. I had interviewed famous comic book writers. I was going to San Diego Comic Con in a few weeks- my first trip all by myself! I was young, enthusiastic, and ready to take on the world!

Friends I met through the comic shop introduced me via Twitter to a colleague of theirs. This 28 year old man lived outside of Washington, D.C. and was the editor in chief of a website that reviewed popular culture. And this man, Pietro Filipponi, pursued me through Twitter, quickly offering me a job as their New York correspondent.

Me! 21 years old and getting to see movies not just for free, but months in advance! I would get to interview movie stars. I met Filipponi for lunch in Manhattan. He was 45 minutes late to this lunch because apparently he said he had witnessed a man attacking a woman on the subway, and in turn arrested the attacker. Filipponi had to take the man to the police station and file a report. He could do this because he was military police. He had a badge and a gun and everything. He showed me.

Back then, I didn’t think people lied about that sort of thing.

Our lunch was a series of equally outlandish claims. He ran a huge news outlet out of DC and needed someone in New York to attend red carpet events and review new movies. I told him that was my dream and that I couldn’t be more honored. It makes me nauseous to recall how blinded by my dreams I was. 

He then ran off, claiming to go have tea with the cast of the last Harry Potter movie for work. I was enchanted. I was duped. I was naive. 

Filipponi and I stayed in touch in the weeks leading up to Comic Con. At the last minute he said the hotel fucked up his reservation and had no where to stay. Since I had a hotel suite with a bedroom, he asked if could stay on the couch. He said he could get me into press events and the big parties at the convention. It felt like a fairy tale; so I let him stay in my hotel room.

We hooked up, it was consensual. That time.

The same night, a few hours later I woke up to him yelling and throwing stuff in the living room. He said he was in love with me and he knew that I would never love him back. I sat on the bed, confused and petrified. I sat there while he stormed off with his suitcases, this grown man crying and furious over god knows what. He left and I spent my next day at the convention forgetting about him.

The following afternoon I got a phone call from him. He had stolen a room key and was wasted in my hotel room. He claimed that he went to interview Tom Hardy for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and that he told Hardy how some girl had broken his heart. Hardy then supposedly took the most expensive bottle of tequila the hotel had(on Warner Bros tab) and got Filipponi shit faced.

Filipponi was now sitting in my hotel bathroom crying hysterically and wasted because he loved me. I told him he needed to get the hell out of my hotel room and to give me back all my room keys. He then took out a needle and stabbed himself in the leg, saying it was some sort of drug the military used to sober someone up.

I was terrified.

I wish I could say our interaction ended here. But he did what all sociopaths are able to do: they make you think that this situation is your fault and that they deserve to be loved by you. I was scared and unsure. I told him he could rest in my room while I went out back to the convention that day.

On the last day he texted me asking if I wanted to meet Nathan Fillion, from Firefly fame. I couldn’t say not to that. Filipponi got us to cut the line and Fillion shook my hand, complimented me on my smile, and signed a few things. I decided that I could tolerate being this maniac’s friend.

When it was time to fly back home (New Jersey for me, D.C. for him) he said he felt like he was never going to see me again. I shrugged it off. I wanted the job too much to pay attention to the warning alarms going off in my head.

After I sat down on the plane, I look up at one point and Filipponi is standing in the aisle. He looks to the young man to my right and says, “I’ll trade you my first class ticket so I can sit next to my girlfriend.” The guy took the ticket without any question. I was dumbfounded.

“Don’t you see how crazy I am about you? I bought a first class ticket that cost me thousands of dollars and gave it to some kid just to spend a few extra hours with you.” It felt like a movie moment. Maybe this is how adults acted. He was someone who had served two tours overseas and “worked at the Pentagon”; maybe this extreme and dramatic kind of romance was what real life was like.

Spoiler: its not.

After that Filipponi came up to New York once a week to meet me for movie events. He took me to famed screening rooms in Times Square and in skyscrapers that held actual Academy Awards. The first famous actor I interviewed was Colin Firth. I was starstruck. Filipponi called me his girlfriend and I let him. If this is what it took to achieve my dreams, I was going to be able to put up with his crazy shit.

By the end of August he suddenly had moved up to New York. He claimed that he “gave” his ex wife his house, his car, and abandoned his kids “all for you”. When he would throw temper tantrums in the middle of Times Square, it was because I didn’t love him. I didn’t. He was constantly throwing it in my face that he gave up his life for me.

I would constantly break up with him (if you could count what we had as a real relationship) and not speak to him for days. But then it was always, something. He would bribe me with tickets to the new Broadway show I was dying to see, that we could go see. As friends.

During this time period I was still in college and living with my parents in New Jersey. He was living with his two old aunts, sleeping on their couch in White Plains, NY. Once a week we would meet in Manhattan and hang out. After about a year I tried yet again to break things off for good. He went to Virginia, to stay with his ex wife and kids.

A month or so later he borrowed money from his parents and got an apartment on the Upper West Side, half a block from Central Park. He knew this was my ultimate dream: to live in a brownstone on the UWS, just like Meg Ryan in ‘You’ve Got Mail’. He said he did it for me, that he would hold onto the lease until I was able to finish my last year of college and then I could take it over.

This is what our interaction was like. I know I used him for my dream job, but he knew that and used it to his advantage. Every day I feel like an idiot and a fool and that I deserve every shitty thing he eventually did to me. I know from therapy and growth that this is not the case. But I doubt that I will ever not feel guilt or shame.

So I started talking to him again and as a result I met and interviewed more and more famous people. He got me an interview with Steven Spielberg at the TinTin press junket. The same day. he also cornered me in that hotel hallway, yelling at me in front of other journalist how I was a child and embarrassing him. But then I was able to interview Peter Jackson, Liam Neeson, and Winona Ryder. I got to hug and tell these filmmakers I adored how much their work meant to me.

 

It was a constant whirlwind of chaos. One moment Filipponi would suddenly start screaming at me in a Starbucks leaving me mortified and crying. I hated him and wanted to run away. But there was always one more interview, one more breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria with Oprah and Lenny Kravitz.

My parents despise him. The one time he met my mom, he showed her a photo album of his tours in Iraq, including dead bodies. My friends were at first charmed by him and the promises of the grand things he could do for them. But slowly all these friends disappeared. He told me the girls had tried sleeping with him. He said the guys were trying to fuck me. He hated my family and routinely trash talked my parents and siblings.

I should have known better. It eats away at my insides. I should have known better.

I moved to Manhattan in September 2012 after I graduated from college. I had my very own apartment, separate and away from him. A year passed with the same ups and down, the endless fighting and celebrity filled days.

In 2013,  I fell on an escalator. My arm was in a cast and I couldn’t do things like climb into my loft bed or carry my laundry down to the basement. So I had a choice: give up living in Manhattan and move back to NJ. Or move in with Filipponi.

If I had moved home I would have been a failure. I would just be another one of those girls who “couldn’t make it in New York City”. I thought I would rather kill myself. So I moved in with him for a year.

That third year of knowing him was the worst year of my life. Filipponi was the biggest piece of shit. He always said he was going on job interviews or check ins with the military. But I would come home from work and see him sitting on the couch in the exact same pajamas. When I asked him about it, it caused a fight.

He told me I was lazy, a naive little girl who didn’t know anything, that I was getting fat, that nobody on the Internet would think I was attractive anymore because I had let myself go. I would sneak out to work in the morning to leave without having to talk to him. He only slept on the couch, since he had insomnia from his war PTSD. Thank god.

He had routinely invited girls he “knew” from the Internet –  friends of his – to sleep over. And that I should go stay with my parents for the weekend or else I would make them uncomfortable. I told him how uncomfortable that made me, and how I was being kicked out of my own home. He said I was being rude and a horrible person for not putting “our guest” first.

I could go on for days. You wouldn’t believe the crazy shit I have seen this man do.

Meanwhile, my pain management doctor told me he wouldn’t treat me anymore unless I was seeing a therapist for my obvious depression. My therapist wanted to have Filipponi come with me to therapy. I refused, terrified of how he would deny everything I said.

This horrid person would scream at me that I was pathetic for having to see someone about my “non existent” problems. He would yell and accuse me of trash talking him to my therapist. He said I was a piece of shit because I didn’t know how to love someone. That I was the one making him fat because I created such a negative environment. The list goes on.

And I believed him. For three years he had gotten into my mind and soul, convincing me that the “love” he was giving me was the only thing I deserved. That I was a nothing. 

At one point, I broke up with him yet again and went to stay in NJ. That night he texted me a picture of the inside of an ambulance, no caption. Later, he said he was in the hospital from a heart attack and asked if I could go back to the city to take care of our cats. I did, to find him sitting on the couch. He said the heart attack was real and that they released him. By this point I was tired of his utter bullshit and I was too exhausted to argue back.

Everything he ever said was a lie.

He was mad I didn’t call out of work to go to an event with him. So he told me he sat next to Tom Hanks at the ‘House of Cards’ season 1 premiere. He gave me a notebook with Hanks’s autograph in it. (It was fake.)

He said he once had a threesome with Adrienne Curry and another girl dressed as Slave Leia at a comic book convention.

He would steal from nearly every store we went into, because he truly believed he deserved it.

I remember all the places I cried on the Upper West Side. The front steps of that white painted brownstone on 75th street. The Starbucks next to the Beacon Theater. The diner where I would eat alone after a fight that left me leaving the apartment in angry tears.

He would tell me how much of a push over I was. How spineless and worthless I was. But when I would try to defend myself against him, he said not to stand up to him, he wasn’t the enemy.

He would grab me by the throat, thumbs in my mouth, and push me into a couch out of frustration. Afterwards, he said it was my fault. That I had raised my hand to hit him and he was only protecting himself. 

That is a thing this man has done. 

Time and again he would be evicted from an apartment he was living in. In the last one, where I lived too, we were evicted and I had no idea until it was time to figure out how to sneak all of our shit out in the middle of the night. I had been paying for the utility bills, the groceries, his cell phone – with the deal that he was paying the rent. He obviously was not. Filipponi once scammed a girl we had met out of $10,000. I saw her write the check myself. It was for “stock” in his website. He also would call his parents living in Florida, asking them for money. Telling them that it was to pay for my medical bills. (bullshit) So I thought that’s how he was paying it. He certainly wasn’t making any money being a journalist.

Casually, I began to mail my stuff back to NJ to “keep it there” so that I could “stay with my parents for a few weeks” while he sorted out a new place to live. He threatened to hurt my cat if I didn’t sign a lease for him for a new place. I was 24 and scared for my life. So I did. (He never paid that rent either.)

My parents never knew. Nobody ever did. I was too prideful to admit that I had gotten myself into this situation. It was my mistake and I was going to clean it up by myself. My parents believed me when I told them I had finally had enough of the city and wanted to move back to NJ. I broke up with Filipponi one last time over the phone, safe and far enough away from him. I changed my number and blocked him everywhere online.

In a recent  NYTimes story, “Cat Person”, readers were explained how obligatory sex on the women’s behalf worked. I had no idea other women felt this way until I read that story. The sex I had with that monster was because I was afraid of what would happen if I said no. It wasn’t “rape” because I never said no, but I had wanted to.

I saw a 5th pain management in October 2017. This doctor told me that I had a protruding disk in my spine from a past injury. The only neck injury I had experience was from Filipponi. When I spoke on Twitter for the first time in detail about what this man had done to me, a friend of mine foundApril. She was tweeting openly about the damage Filipponi had done to her.

April told me that writing about what happened to her helped, so I should try it. Pietro raped April a year ago. No amount of writing can cure the guilt I feel for not speaking out about what he did to me, in hopes it would have warned other young women off. Women like April. I could have protected her.

#TimesUp and #MetToo is a trend right now. Part of me feels that I’m a fake by throwing in my horror story because it’s “all the rage right now”. But no. The only reason I am even capable of imagining putting this out on the internet is because of all the women who have told their stories before me, telling me it was safe to finally talk about it.

Pietro Filipponi is a sociopath, a thief, a liar, and a rapist. I now know that everything he ever said to me was him just projecting his own insecurities, like a fucking child.  If you come across him and Google PIETRO FILIPPONI to find out about him- this better show up. Because he is someone you must stay very far away from. He is currently pretending to be a RAD Systems instructor. (The Rape Aggression Defense System. Isn’t that fucking ironic.) April and I have both contacted them and they are investigating this further.

 

There is a bench outside of the Museum of Natural History that I would sit on in the middle of the night in the dead of winter, sobbing after a fight with him. I was alone, I would be freezing, constantly asking myself how the fuck did my life end up here? Years after leaving New York, I walked by the museum with my current boyfriend, Steven. I paused and ask him to sit down next to me. I started sobbing. I told him how many nights I had spent on this bench, wishing that there was someone out there who would one day love me and make me feel safe. That I needed to sit on that bench with him, just for a moment, while I felt safe and loved. And maybe this feeling would travel back in time to that version of me curled up on the bench to let her know, the bad guys don’t win. Not if we continue to stand up to them.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for believing me.

 

*In the original piece the name April was replaced with Olivia for her privacy. She has since given me permission to use her real name. – Zoë 

Which Witch is Which?

9:30pm, Home

I have feeling not like myself lately. This is evident from my Twitter feed and recent blog posts. Something in me is struggling and I haven’t been able to figure out what it is. I became obsessed with Whole 30 as a way to “fix” myself in the hopes of finding happiness. (spoiler- didn’t work). I’ve been thinking about starting a Twitch stream to connect with more people online, but I truly don’t have a passion for it.

In times of my deepest struggles, I have always found myself craving two things: magic and yoga.

In the last year I lived in Manhattan with an abusive ex boyfriend and seeing a therapist for depression, I was going to yoga 4-6 times a week. The studio was on the top floor of a building in Lincoln Center square. I’d trek through the snow to lay on the ground below the green house windows that covered the ceiling. Being in that small room, watching the snow fall and honing in with my mind & body were the only happy times during the worst year of my life. In college I was a yoga addict, and it helped heal my body when I was recovering from bulimia.

When I was in grade school I was drawn to tarot cards. I once even got detention for bringing them to catholic school >.< The cards have always spoken truth to me, and the witchcraft I practice is a very private matter that I don’t like discussing with people, even Steve. But he’s a saint and doesn’t say anything when I need to smudge the house, line the foundation of our home with sea salt, or keep protective jars at every doorway of the house. Those are mild ones.

Finding a new yoga studio is hard. It’s also a deeply personal and vulnerable practice and you have to feel accepted and home when you finally do pick a place that connects with you.

This morning I went to the cafe for a couple of hours to get work done, then went to the beach specifically to meditate for the first time. It was cold but wonderful. Then I did some errands and food shopping. When 5 o’clock came around I wanted to take a nap but I had promised myself that this was finally the day I would commit to a year membership at my yoga studio. My soul fucking craves it.

So I did. Thanks Ohana Rising School for making me feel at home. <3

And I signed up for their “Full Super Moon Quadruple Gong Healing” workshop this Saturday! 

 

According to NASA:

“The Jan. 31 full moon is special for three reasons: it’s the third in a series of “supermoons,”when the Moon is closer to Earth in its orbit — known as perigee — and about 14 percent brighter than usual. It’s also the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” The super blue moon will pass through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse. While the Moon is in the Earth’s shadow it will take on a reddish tint, known as a “blood moon.”

When I define the area of witchcraft I practice, I consider myself to be a Moon Witch. I’ve been drawn to the constellations and energy or the moon since childhood. The waxing crescent moon tattoo on my right wrist was a symbol of my craft when I got it in 2014. So I’m VERY excited that my new yoga studio is having a workshop specifically celebrating this event!

I’m about halfway through “Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic.” by Lisa Lister (Amazon Link) I’m really enjoying it so far, especially the history of witchcraft and how strongly she believes that there is no “one” way to practice magic and that you don’t have to fit into any category such as Pagan, Wiccan, or Hedge Witch. I don’t view my craft as a religious thing, which many witches do. I’m just not one of them.

A downside of this book is that it’s heavy on the PUSSY POWER and how all the strength of a witch comes from her womb or vagina. I don’t personally believe that, plus she has so far excluded talking about the views of women or color in witchcraft which bothers me. But otherwise I’m enjoying the rest very much.

In short, I hope you are all finding your way to your own version of happiness. Hang in there. <3

 

Why Whole 30 Wasn’t For Me

I started 2018 strong. I was ALL ABOUT THAT WHOLE 30 LIFESTYLE. I bought all the books, I meal planned, I joined the Facebook communities, I followed FitSpo people on Instagram, and I had a great support system in my boyfriend. I was kicking ass for the first week laughed at the cravings and became a Julia Child in the kitchen.

Then Day 8 hit and it was a disaster. Today would have been Day 15. Instead on Day 8, I started having tons of eating disorder flashbacks and anxieties. Today I finally felt like myself again for the first time in weeks honestly.

In short: The pro is that Whole 30 taught a lot about shopping for food that doesn’t have added sugar and weird preservatives. Plus soy is in EVERYTHING. The con is that it was extremely unhealthy for me mentally as someone who had a raging eating disorder in college.

Verdict: Good for some people, not for me.

Let’s get in the nitty gritty details: During high school and college I had bulimia. I didn’t think it was so bad at the time, just the “average” eating disorder women of a certain age experience. I was never stick thin, I ran 5ks and was going to the gym every single goddamn day. However, I also couldn’t go an entire day without throwing up everything I ate.

This is a photo from the highlight of my eating disorder days- also the “peak” of my comic book faux fame.

I had just finished hosting the Midtown Comics book club with creators Scott Snyder, Trevor McCarthy, & Kyle Higgins for ‘Batman Gates of Gotham’. My dear friend and coworker Ron Gejon took this photo, as he did all of the photos of me during this time. I remember briefly glancing at the photo and turning in disgusting, pleading with him that I was just getting over the flu and that’s why I looked so horrible. I remember my head being foggy, I was sweating, couldn’t breathe out of my nose, my face was swollen, and I felt generally awful.

It wasn’t until one day in college that I remember standing on the side of the Raritan River on my lunch break in the middle of winter and saying to myself, “I’m going to kill myself if I keep this shit up.” I called the Rutgers University psychiatry center right then and explained my situation. I remember saying to the woman on the phone that I didn’t think I had a “real” eating disorder and her sounding appalled in return.

I joined an outpatient one on one program where I had to meet with a therapist twice a week for two months, going over my homework. I had to log down everything I ate, not the calories, but the food and how I was feeling before/during/after I had eaten. After that program, I’ve still struggled heavily with my body image, but I never went back to throwing up after I’ve eaten again.

I detail all of this because for the first time in over 6 years- being on Whole 30 made me want to sneak the foods that weren’t allowed and I tried to justify it by saying I would throw it all up afterwards. All of the thoughts that plauged me when I was younger suddenly came out of the wood work.

I was at Trader Joes doing my third trip to the grocery store that week (eating healthy is expensive) where I grabbed a bag of chips at the last moment and then wolfed down as many as I could in my car. I wanted to run home and throw up as soon as I could but I ended up just crawling in bed and feeling physically and mentally horrible.

I then went back and realized how this didn’t actually happen all at once, but had slowly built up over the last month as I had prepared for Whole 30.

First let me say – this program works WONDERFULLY for countless people. It just wasn’t the right fit for me. It’s very strict to protect people from “cheating” or “slipping”. But some of the rules were just outrageous for my lifestyle.

One of them being – if you weighed yourself at all in the 30 day period, you had to fucking start over from scratch. *scowl* That makes zero sense to me. I understand that the program wants you to break the dependency on weighing oneself, but this all or nothing mindset was very harmful to me.

The Facebook communities were a NIGHTMARE. One of the main words in Whole 30 is if a food is “compliant” or not. the message boards were full of people posting tea or tomato sauce asking if it was “compliant”. God forbid if the food wasn’t, and the poor poster had already eaten it- they had to START OVER AT DAY 1. Even if they were at day 28! If your tea had vanilla extract in it, BOOM KICKED OFF THE ISLAND, START OVER DO NOT COLLECT MONEY YOU FAILED.

*shudder* It was too much for me. For weeks before starting on January 2nd, I researched and prepped and made shopping lists and was so cautious over consuming just once teaspoon of something that wasn’t compliant. I was terrified of failing.

But screw that. Over self reflection the last week, I have let myself have Splenda in my coffee (black coffee is disgusting go fuck yourself). I decided to take a moderation approach. Just to be aware of what I was putting into my body while at the same time being nice to myself mentally.

“Oh, this poor snowflake, she couldn’t handle some tough love.” Whatever, I’m turning 28 this year 

and I’ll be damned if I let some middle age moms on Facebook dictate how much I beat myself up.

 

Also, that cheeseburger I had for dinner was delicious.

Goals for 2018

The first week of 2018 is coming to a close and everyone is still thinking about their new year’s resolutions – if you are guilty for not keeping them or sticking to them stubbornly. I’m of the latter and succeeding in the ones I have attempted.

  1. Continue to eat healthy!

    • On January 2nd I started the Whole 30 program, as I mentioned previously, and I’m on day 5. Up until today I had no cravings and didn’t think it was a big deal. But the “bomb cyclone” blizzard that hit the Northeast this week has turned the Jersey Shore fucking freezing and today all I wanted was a hot chocolate and apple pie. I didn’t give in though, and begrudgingly ate the sugar free bacon (there’s sugar in literally everything) and chicken stir fry. Which leads me to…
  2. Learn to cook

    • It’s been 6 months since Steve and I moved in together! For three years I packed an overnight bag and stayed with him on the weekends, which made meal planning too big of a job to me. That was my excuse but then for 6 months we didn’t cook either in the new house. Lots and lots of enjoying the local eats in Asbury Park. But between that and all the delicious food at the cafe I run, it was taking a toll on me. Hence Goal 1. Anyway, we have cooked at least one meal together everyday this week from scratch. Only whole foods, nothing processed with sugar or dairy or soy etc. I’ve done more cooking in the last 5 days than I have in the last 5 years. I’m learning. I’ve learned that I can plan meals for the week ahead and go buy all the ingredients – and fucking cook them. What a novel idea. I would kill for some bread though.
  3. Keep track of all the movies and television shows I watch

    • So far I’ve only watched 2 movies and no shows – listened to a few more podcasts while shoveling snow though! I kept track of all the books I read in 2017 and I loved seeing all that I accomplished and absorbed. So now I want that for all the media I experience in 2018.
  4. Learn how to properly apply eyeshadow

    • I’m turning 28 in a few months (what the fuck?!) and I still think I apply eye shadow with just a lot of product all over my eye lids. Super Hot Topic circa 2003. Not good. I will learn this year though.
  5. Read 50 books

    • I read 36 books in 2017. I hope to crush that and read 50 this year! In order to help keep me on track with that, I offered to review books for a friend’s website and requested a bunch of ARCs (advance reader copies) on NetGalley.com. I hope you see a bunch of book reviews from me in the near future!
  6. Get my motorcycle license

    • This is the big one! Until shortly before I turned 25, I swore I would never get my driver’s license. I had lived in New York City after college, I never needed to learn how to drive. But then I met a guy off of Tinder and stayed in NJ and *shrug* I figured if I wanted to keep getting laid I would have to drive to him once in a while. So Steve taught me how to drive stick and I bought a liquid yellow Mini Cooper and now my car is my favorite thing in the whole world. I would whole heartedly become a stunt car driver if I could afford the insurance. I went from being terrified of driving to loving the thrill of maneuvering corners and respect for my adorable little car. Steve has several motorcycles and he loves it. I figured what scares me that I would actually love to know how to do? Ride a motorcycle to the beach. Why the fuck not. All it takes in NJ is to get your permit and take a three day course with your test at the end. I’m going to wait until April or May when its a bit warmer out. But I’m determined to get my license by the end of 2018.

These are my goals. Tweet me or comment or smoke signal to let me know what yours are- I genuinely want to know.

 

“And so, life in the Shire goes on, very much as it has this past Age…

There’s currently a snowstorm bustling outside here in Asbury Park, NJ. My cafe is closed and Steve is working from home so we are bundled up by the fireplace with our dog Barney. Four days into 2018 and already things are perking up from last year! I’m cuddled on the couch with some tea and will finally get around to taking down our Christmas decorations today. Here are a few things going on in my part of the world:

Wellness

I’m currently doing the Whole 30 challenge after starting on 1/2/18. Here’s a link to the official website but in short I’m not eating any processed food or bread/dairy/legumes/sugar for 30 days. I did this for 3 weeks back in July before my brother’s wedding and so many people complimented how healthy I looked. But since taking over the cafe in August, I’ve had unlimited access to bread, gourmet cheese, gelato, and lattes everyday and while I enjoyed every second of it – it really caught up with me.

This time around, I prepared like mad. I bought every single Whole 30 book, including the daily journal, and for Christmas we asked our families to give us cooking supplies. Cookbooks, a spice rack subscription, a KitchenAid mixer, and KitchenAid utensils – Steve and I have been cooking WAY more than we ever did before. One of our goals for 2018 was to cook and Whole 30 has motivated us to conquer that one. Steve isn’t doing the program with me because it would be cruel to subject him to a month without bourbon, where as I don’t drink alcohol at all. (Not because I’m against it – I run a cafe with a full liquor license! – but booze mixed with my anxiety meds makes me puke hardcore.) Steve is being VERY supportive. He used to be a CrossFit junkie and I’m grateful for his experience on living a healthier lifestyle.

Whole 30 isn’t hard if you prepare and give yourself the right tools. Am I having fun? No. I would kill to be able to put Splenda and milk in my coffee right now or have pizza delivered. But cravings are fleeting.

Mental Health

I’ve mentioned it briefly on Instagram & Twitter that depression has been keeping me feeling “bummed out” as I have been known to describe it. There are different kinds of clinical depression of various levels but I’m still hesitant to call it that. The first time I was diagnosed with depression was because I was living with an abusive ex boyfriend. All I did was go to work and sleep. My life right now is worlds away from that time in my life but somehow that nagging, heavy weight on my chest won’t go away. I can’t seem to get out of bed until the very last minute before I have to leave for work, and when I get home I just want to stay on the couch and read. At work I’m unmotivated and I’m becoming a pro at fake enthusiasm.

It’s probably a mixture of my anxiety, seasonal depression, and nerve pain flaring up because the temperature is so low. Whatever it is, I’m acknowledging it and doing everything I can to push through it – like Whole 30.

Watching

The best house rule we have in our home is no TV. Theres a television in the guest room that has hardly been used (except for random football games and a Stranger Things binge) and I love it! Steve and I come home after work and want to spend time with each other that doesn’t involve mindless shows. He is on his guitar for hours every night. I’m reading or watching Netflix on my phone, which I don’t count as television because it’s a conscious choice to watch a specific thing.

Currently I’m almost done with “The Last Post” on Amazon Prime. It’s about a British post in 1965 in Aden, Yemen and the families that live there. It has the same aesthetic as ‘The Crown’, which I loved, but ‘The Last Post’ is more gritty and intense. It’s one of the better historical fiction type shows on a streaming service and if that’s your thing, check it out for sure.

Reading

I want to scream it off my roof top: YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK ASAP. “The Enchanting Life of Adam Hope” by Rhonda Riley set the bar pretty fucking high for 2018. It’s a historical fiction novel set during WWII about a young woman, Evelyn, who falls in love with someone quite different from us. It might be considered science fiction, but only in the way “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is scifi. “Adam Hope” has beautiful prose that pulled me into the story immediately and left me in a fog thinking about the characters when I wasn’t reading.

The passionate love story between the asexual character A and Evelyn had my heart aching to be near the person I  love most. Everything was well written, from the character development to the scenic landscapes, to the sex scenes. I bought the Kindle edition after reading the description in my daily BookBub newsletter (seriously, if you own a Kindle and on the hunt for a good deal, BookBub changed my life. 90% of the books I read last year were recommended by them). Right now it’s only $10 for the paperback and $7 for the eBook on Amazon.

I finished it last night and I’m still in a haze over it. I’ve tried picking up half a dozen books to read today but none of them fulfill the void “Adam Hope” has left me in so I should wait another day or so.

That’s all for now. I really want to blog again this year. The last two years I haven’t had the motivation to do so because I felt like my life wasn’t as exciting to other people as it once was. But I 

still have words & ideas dying to pour out of me. Plus I now live in the best little city by the sea and I can’t wait to tell you all more about Asbury Park.

Happy New Year and stay warm!

 

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