How are you?

I want to obliterate that question from our normal conversation.

I work in retail so I have to ask every customer that question and in return they answer and then return the question right back to me. This is how it usually goes:


Me: Hello! Find everything alright?

Customer: Yep!

Me: Great! How are you doing today?

Customer: I’m doing pretty well, how about you?

Me: I’m doing alright thanks!


You know what that conversation is laced with?

LIES.

But you can’t just tell a stranger the truth about how you’re really feeling. Can you imagine? It would probably go something like this:


Me: Hello! Find everything alright?

Customer: Yep!

Me: Great! How are you doing today?

Customer: I’m in a shopping mall and you’re not folding fast enough and my kid is wrecking your display but I’m not going to tell them not to because I’m exhausted from having to deal with my own kid everyday. I’m a tired, over-worked mother and please just give me my new clothes. How are you doing?

Me: Well I’m horrendously depressed and exhausted from acting happy everyday and I’m just trying to live and not think about killing myself all the time because that’s a thing now and life is just a real piece of shit right now and I’m working to keep myself busy so that I don’t constantly think about how awful I feel, thanks for asking!


No, we can’t do that because no one wants to hear it. No one wants to be a “downer”. So we lie. The only people who we can tell the truth to are friends and family who genuinely want to know how we’re doing. But people who I’m ringing up a shirt for? They could give less of a shit how I’m doing and it goes the same for me. Its not that we’re rude people, its just that we simply don’t have enough energy to carry the load of a stranger’s daily problems and true feelings.

So how can we fix this?

I’ve personally started complimenting customers instead of asking how their day is going. Whether its their hair or their glasses or their little earrings or just the fact that I like how they matched their clothing, I throw a compliment. This way, I don’t have to be asked how my day is and be thrown back into reality and they get a compliment and we both feel good.

How do you handle getting that question thrown at you? Leave it in the comment section or tweet at me! (@okayzoeyk)

Have a day filled with kittens, okay?

Zoey K.

Fun story about retail: One day a kid asked me if we had any wrist clocks. I nearly farted I laughed so hard.

Q&A Part 4: London Halfway

So if you didn’t know, I’ve been in London for 2 months now which makes me halfway through my program! Hooray! You got your questions, and I got you some answers. Lets do this.

Have you started talking with a British accent?

Haha no I have not! I think I’ve started picking up some of the lingo though but nooo no accent.

What words do you find especially different?

Although my boyfriend says it all the time, I’m still not used to the fact that people say cheers instead of thank you. I asked someone where the sweaters were and they said “the jumpers are over there.” Lets see… They think slut is a more insulting word than cunt… Uhm… I honestly can’t think of a lot thats significantly different than the usual. OH! Also a “white van man” is NOT the same in America as we found out. A “white van man” is a guy who is like a blue collar worker and middle class. Someone who fixes like air conditioners and stuff. Not child abductors.

Do you get a lot of questions about Donald Trump?

Absolutely. People are fascinated by American politics. They just completely don’t understand how people can vote for Donald Trump. Then the question is always, “Why don’t you guys just be like Britain and vote for Bernie?” and I’m like “RIGHT?!?!” But thats just my politics. Hillary ain’t so bad. But yeah no people are really quite terrified of Donald Trump, but they find him more hysterical than anything and ask if the things he say are true and I reluctantly have to say yes. Its more of an embarrassment when people ask about Trump more than anything.

What do they think of our gun laws?

They don’t get it. Thats the one thing that people 100% do not understand about the US. Guns are COMPLETELY outlawed in the UK, even policemen don’t carry guns and you can’t buy or sell guns in the UK and everyone is completely okay with this. There is quite a bunch of knife crime in England, but no guns. Ever since like one bad instance with guns, they just outlawed them. People are so terrified here that anyone can get guns. My English History professor gets flabbergasted every time he brings it up.

Do you attend classes and what are they like?

Well.. I kinda do and don’t. I have two completely scheduled classes and 2 classes taught by the professor where he kind of just does whatever the fuck he wants. My scheduled classes are my art history class and my English History. My art history class is every Tuesday and we meet at a different museum every week. Depending if we’re doing modern art or pre-20th century art, it depends which professor we meet with. We walk around museums or exhibits and talk about the art and its literally a dream come true. My English History class meets in a classroom every Wednesday night and we talk about England and its history, politics, and all that jazz and discuss about it. It sounds boring but its actually a lot of fun and our professor is just the bomb. Now my theatre and music classes are always kind of up in the air about what we’re doing each week. Sometimes we have lectures, but other times we walk around London for 8 hours going to each place that Shakespeare went or having a scavenger hunt based on songs written about areas of London. Every week though, we go to at least one theatre performance and one music performance. Its pretty surreal.

Speaking of theatre, how is that?

Can I speak completely honestly? I’m severely underwhelmed. I might get a shit ton of hate for this, but keep in mind this is my very spoiled opinion because I’ve seen a lot of absolutely incredible theatre in Miami and on Broadway. I have been to one show thats blown me away, and the rest of it I’ve been like meh or yeah that was fine. But honestly I went and saw Matilda and the main girl who played Matilda was the least expressive actress I’ve ever seen and don’t give me that “but she’s young give her a break” bullshit because the rest of the kids in that show were UNBELIEVABLE. Each time I’ve been like, “Omg I’m in London this show is gonna be amazing” and then I’m like, “eh… alright.” Trust me, I’m not the only one in my group who feels this way.

Are you going to see Uncle ____?

I will try! I don’t have a lot of time to travel outside of my group but I will certainly try!

Speaking of travel, have you done a lot?

I am very fortunate to say I have! A majority of it has been with my group though. I think I’ve traveled alone once and I’m going to Italy for Spring Break but thats about it. Every other place I’ve been has been with my group and it has been awesome. So far I’ve been to Scotland: St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow; England: Oxford, York, and Leeds. And then we’re also going to Bath at some point and Stonehenge and I’m planning on going to Salisbury and Durham cuz they got some sick Gothic Cathedrals!

Thats all I got for now folks! Keep an eye out for more q&a sessions when I announce them on twitter or my up and coming facebook page and you too can have a question answered! For now, enjoy the slideshow of what I’ve been up to thus far!

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Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

The power of having a “Dr.”

I was told today by a therapist that I was going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life. I could take all the medication I wanted, do all the tricks, but I was going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life.

Needless to say, I pretty much blanked out any other “helpful” advice she had to give for me.

Why? Because now I was freaking out about how I was going to be able to have a job, have a successful marriage, have children, have grandchildren, how the fuck I was going to remain happy in my life with the fact that someone with a “Dr.” before their name told me that I was going to be suffering with panic attacks for the rest of my life.

I burst into tears as soon as she told me where the bathroom was. To tell a patient that they’re not going to get better, EVER, is basically the last thing they want to hear when all they want to do in life is get better and to be rid of the things in life that ails them. It doesn’t matter if  you have depression or a physical illness. No patient wants to be told that all of their efforts are futile.

Now, I’m exaggerating because I’m clearly upset. She didn’t say that no matter what I do wouldn’t help. She said despite all of the medication I will take, my panic attacks will get immune to them and come back regardless and that I’m constantly going to have to think of new tricks to combat them. For the rest of my life.

Maybe she was trying to be frank. Maybe she was trying to be honest. I guess she was trying to help in some way. Either way, it wrecked me. The worst part? I believed her.

I don’t think some doctors truly understand how much power their words can have on their patients. We come to them for help and we take their words and their advice very, very seriously because they went to school for this for numbers of years, so they must know what they’re doing. So when a person with the word “Dr.” before their name tells me that I’m going to have panic attacks for the rest of my life, of course I’m fucking going to believe her.

Despite this, I talked to two very intelligent people while I was still having my winged eyeliner running down my cheeks: my flatmate and my mom. My flatmate has gone through many similar experiences as I have and more  and has been super helpful in guidance and just helping me know that I’m not alone. She was shocked that a professional told me that and shared her experiences with other doctors who had told her unhelpful and even harmful advice as well.

My mom set my record straight. She looked at me and said, “Thats ridiculous. Of course you’re not going to have panic attacks like this for the rest of your life. Anxiety? Most likely. Panic attacks? I’m doubtful.” We had a very long chat about how these kinds of things tend to move in waves and that this may change, but no matter what, I was still going to be successful and would always have her support. She reminded me of the other two doctors I’ve had (and still have in Portland) who have helped me achieve great strides in my mental health who are convinced and have told me multiple times that I will get better. I have had so many people tell me that panic attacks are mostly temporary. Why did I believe this one stupid woman then?

To be honest, I’m in a vulnerable state right now and I went to a therapist grasping for help and gasping for a breath of professional “YOU GOT THIS GIRL HERES SOME SHIT THAT WILL HELP YOU IN THIS STRESSFUL TIME LETS GO KICK SOME MENTAL ILLNESS ASS WOO!!” and I got the exact opposite. I got what no one has ever told me before. That I will. not. get. better.

But fuck that.

No honestly fuck that. I sat in class for 3 hours thinking about how I’ve been battling with my mental illness for years and how that has made me a stronger person.  I thought about where I was with in my panic attacks 2 years ago and how much progress I’ve mad in combatting them, learning from them, and helping myself.  And you know what? I have gotten better. I have bad days, horrific days, and some days I think this will be the day that I hurl myself in front of those subway tracks. Today was one of those days I’m not going to lie to you.  But you know what? I’m really fucking glad I didn’t. I have worked so hard and I’m not going to let it go to waste on some metal. I have made progress and I am going to continue to make progress.

You know what? I’m not just going to keep making progress. I am going to grab my life by its testicles and say, “LISTEN HERE MOTHERFUCKER. WE ONLY GET ONE CHANCE AT THIS LIFE AND IF ITS FULL OF PANIC ATTACKS, DEPRESSION, AND ANXIETY, SO FUCKING BE IT BUT WE’RE GONNA LIVE IT AND ITS GOING TO BE REALLY RAD BECAUSE ITS ALSO GONNA BE FILLED WITH LOVE, AWESOME EXPERIENCES, AND MAYBE A COUPLE OF KITTENS AND PUPPIES.” And my life is all gonna be like “DID YOU REALLY NEED TO GRAB MY TESTICLES FOR THAT JESUS CHRIST ALRIGHT!”

So when a therapist, a parent, a person, anyone says you ain’t getting better,

PROVE. THEM. WRONG. 

cuz thats what I’m gonna do. 🙂

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

 

Strange Encounters: January/February

Oof its been a while. Sorry about that. Its been a rough couple of days for little miss Zoey over here. I think I could use a laugh and all of you could use a laugh, so lets laugh at the weird shit that has happened to me thus far. These aren’t necessarily in chronological order because I’m remembering them as I go.

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1. The Proposal

I went to Glasgow, Scotland with my group two weekends ago. It was wonderful and Glasgow is a truly cool city when its not kinda scary at night covered in drunks, but its really awesome besides that.I had to leave late because of a meeting I had for my almost had job (long story) so I got on a train to Glasgow at 5 and didn’t get there until 11:45. Within that large span of time, a couple of things happened:

  1. I lost my train ticket
  2. I met a really nice guy who had the thickest Scottish accent I ever heard and he kept asking me why people liked Donald Trump.
  3. I was proposed to.

Here is how 3 happened.

*Zoey walks out of the train station. Looks at her phone trying to figure out which way she is supposed to go. She picks a direction and looks up.*

Cue a random guy walking on the street. 

RANDO (while making direct eye contact): MARRY. ME. *he walks away* 

*Zoey stands there confused* 

Keep in mind the entire time he did this he kept walking but maintained direct eye contact with me. Lets just say it was quite an odd welcome to the city.

2. Sometimes interviews get a bit weird

As you may know, my project while I’m across the pond is to interview strangers about art (CAN LIFE BE BETTER???) and while I do get a lot of great answers, sometimes I get the strange ones too. Here are some things that have happened when I asked people about art.

1.Me: Ma’am, where does your eye go first?

Her: The eyes.

Me: Why?

*Looks at me directly in the eyes* Her: Because the eyes are the window to the soul my dear. You can see a lot about a person by staring into their eyes. *Kinda bobs around while she says this* 

2. Me: Sir, why do you look at the light in the painting?

Him: I don’t know. Ask Vermeer. *walks away* 

3. Me: Sir, where does your eye go first?

Him: Did you know that this painting is made of pastels?

Me: Um yes it says so-

Him: It was done in 1760 and he is such a brilliant painter. He is the best French painter to come out of this era. I think…*He continues to trail on and on about the painting, basically re-explaining what the info card says* 

Me: Thank you sir, but where does you-

Him: Thank you, you’re welcome, goodbye. *walks away* 

3. I finally got hit on

Its not often that I get hit on, for whatever reason. Sometimes, I think its really awesome, and other times its kind of sad. This day, was not one of those days I didn’t get hit on. In fact, it completely made my day.

I was sitting in the Tate Britain taking notes on Ophelia and waiting for this large group of art students to leave so I could interview people about it. As they start to leave and I start making my way towards it, this happens :

*girl runs straight at me *

Her: Hello uh hi hhello! I just think you’re very beautiful and I couldn’t stop staring at you so um okay heres my number just call me okay?

Me: Oh thank-

Her: I got to go to class bye!

*Runs away* 

Although I couldn’t call her to thank her for the compliment, I did find her on facebook and thoroughly thank her for the compliment and sadly break it to her that I am in a relationship but I would like to be friends with her. Haven’t heard from her sense. *sigh*

Anyway, sorry about the wait. I will try and post twice a week from now on.

Have a great day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

 

 

A conversation with my anxiety

At a Gaelectronica concert (yes this actually happened and yes it was for a class) 

Zoey is seen dancing away having a great time with friends. 

Anxiety: Hey…hey.. this bass is kind of loud.

Me: Yeah but its okay. Lets feel it out. I’m sure it’ll be okay.

Anxiety: Yeah but its like…I feel it in my heart. Thats kind of scary.

Me: It’s gonna be okay don’t worry.

Zoey continues to dance

Anxiety: So… its getting louder.

Me: Yeah its a little concerning but don’t freak out. Lets keep going.

Anxiety: I’m starting to freak out.

Sex conscious: Hey that violinist is really cute.

Anxiety: Can you not right now? They are playing so loud.

Me: Yo its gonna be fine.

Lights start strobing

Anxiety: I CAN’T SEE. I CAN’T FUCKING SEE.

Me: Hey, hey, its fine-

Anxiety: AAAAAHH SO BRIGHT HELP OH MY GOD THE BASS OH MY GOD THE LOUDNESS HOW COULD YOU MAKE ME STAND THIS AAAHHH. HEART RATE YOU WITH ME?

Heart rate: Yeah man lets do this.

Me: Hey lets not get into a panic attack please?

Anxiety: SUCKS TO FUCKING SUCK WE’RE GONNA FREAK OUT. HEY LUNGS LETS NOT WORK OKAY?

Lungs: Sounds good to me.

Me: No, no please can we not-

Anxiety: HEY NERVES LETS GET THIS SHAKING BUSINESS GOING ALRIGHT? LITTLE MISS PARTY PARTY OVER HERE THOUGHT SHE COULD STAND THIS LETS MAKE HER SUFFER.

Nerves: A’ight man whatever you say.

Me: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Zoey is seen running out of the club.

Me: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

Zoey collapses in front of friends

Me: can’t breathe can’t breathe can’t breathe can’t breathe can’t feel can’t feel can’t feel can’t talk can’t talk can’t talk oh god help help help help help help..

Anxiety: LETS GET RID OF THAT ABILITY TO TALK OKAY? ITS PANIC ATTACK TIME AND ITS ALL THANKS TO MR CLUB YOU STUPID BITCH WHAT MADE YOU THINK YOU COULD OUT DO ME? YOUR WORST ENEMY? MUAHAHAHHAAHAHAAHAH YES HYPERVENTILATE. THERE GOES THE FEELING IN YOUR TOES. YOU MUST BE DYING. YOU PATHETIC LITTLE GIRL. NOW LETS GET MR. DEPRESSION IN HERE TO PUNSIH YOU SOME MORE. THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN STOP ME I CONTROL YOU AND NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO. MUAHAHAAHA

Zoey takes medication to stop panic. 

Anxiety: MUAHAHAHA oh. We’re calming down. Alright. That sounds good. But you’re not going to get the feeling back in your legs for a while because you hyperventilated. Have a good night.

Me: Fuck…you…

And thats pretty much how it goes every time I get a panic attack. Y’know. In case you were wondering.

Have a day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

I’m not confused, I’m just bi.

My blog is all about revealing a lot of things that are hard for me to say so that others can relate to it and feel supported. So, here’s another rather personal post that for once actually doesn’t have to do with my mental health.

I have been thinking about this for a few years, but never seriously considered it until very recently. But, I have made my decision.

I am bisexual.

No, I’m not confused, I’m not experimenting, I’m not going through a phase. I do have attraction for both men and women.

You may be thinking, “How did you come to this conclusion?” “Why now?” “Are you still with your boyfriend?”

To answer that last question, yes, I am still with him and this decision had nothing to do with anything related to our relationship. (It is going very well despite the distance.) I did not have an affair with a woman to figure this out nor did any sort of other experimentation with another woman. I simply came to this decision through a lot of thinking and assessment and through talking to some close friends who are bi or gay.

I’ve always found women beautiful and have found my self staring at their beautiful faces and breasts, but I never considered myself bisexual because I thought that if I wasn’t exactly attracted to vaginas, I couldn’t be bisexual. But, I realized that when I had my first boyfriend, I wasn’t exactly attracted to the idea of a penis at first either. I was with him because he is a really wonderful guy who is incredibly intelligent and has a heart of gold. It wasn’t until we were ready did that come into play and I realized okay yes I am into this. I have never had a sexual encounter with a woman because I’ve been in relationships for most of my life and they’ve always been with men.

Why now? Well, I have a lot of time to think while I’m in London. I spend most of my time alone in museums and those tube rides home give me a lot of time to think. Plus, I’ve always been hit on by women and rarely by men. I had always thought about why women were more attracted to me (mainly because of my short hair), and thought y’know, maybe if I’m single I may actually take that opportunity. However, I am not exactly trying to jump on the band wagon now or anytime soon.

I am embracing my sexuality and I’m really excited to be part of a community of really awesome people. I am really happy to say, and I must thank them, that my family supports my decision with happy hearts, and my boyfriend completely supports me and has helped me come to this decision as well. In the words of my mother, “Well we don’t care who you choose to love (as long as they’re nice to you).” My brother said, “You’re my sister, I support most of your decisions unless I think they’re life threatening or stupid. This is neither. I still love you all the same.” I am so so so so thankful to have such incredibly supportive people as my family.

I realize that others are not as fortunate as I when it comes to admitting their newfound sexuality to their loved ones. To those I say, I am here for you and I love you for exactly who you are, even if I don’t know you. You can love whoever you want. Follow your heart. Fuck those homophobic assholes. In the end, it is your decision and it is you who matters the most. You only have one life to live and you should be able to love whoever you want in that life.

Have a great day filled with kittens, Okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk

Q&A Part 3: a lil superpower

I have a super power.

Except for the fact that I didn’t know that I was unique in this until I was 18 years old. I have a condition called synesthesia. Synesthesia is the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body. So to put this in normal people terms, I see color when I hear music, and sometimes when I hear voices or sounds. But synesthesia isn’t limited to this. Other people associate color with numbers, letters. Some people feel instruments in their limbs or taste music.

So I asked the kind people of Facebook and twitter (and my flat mates) and here are your questions about my strange condition being answered!

What does it look like?

So think about when you zone out. Y’know how you kinda see and kinda don’t see whats really there? My synesthesia is in that same part of my mind. The color moves with the music and tends to change color with the key. For voices, its more sharp and sudden, but still has a warm glowy look to it.

How does that affect you?

It makes music significantly more enjoyable. Again, I didn’t realize that I was alone on this until I was 18. Every note on the keyboard has a color, but once you start combining notes into chords and triads, the color suddenly changes so its impossible for me to truly have perfect pitch just through my synesthesia. Sometimes its really overwhelming.

Do you think you view the world differently?

Absolutely! I think I see the world in a much more creative way. Its making music much more magical. I also feel like I’m seeing music’s secret identity. Like I’m getting a 360 degree view of what music is.

Does it freak you out at all?

Sometimes. When there is too much dissonance, I can’t see color at all and instead it looks like static in my head. Seeing color for people’s voices completely freaks me out and when I do see color for every sound, its terrifying.

About that seeing voices thing, how does that happen?

I only see people’s voices when I’m either high or having a severe panic attack. I don’t know why either of those things triggers it. Possibly because my mind is more active? I’m not sure. When I’m high its a very pleasant experience but when I’m having a panic attack, I literally see the color of every person’s voice and it is completely overwhelming.

What was your first experience with synesthesia?

I guess when I was super young. My parents played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for me every night before I went to sleep and I remember those pieces always having color. The first piece was always a light blue and then got darker and moved to orange. I remember the first time I realized I had synesthesia, we were listening to John Coltrane and my mom was talking about synesthesia. When I mentioned I’ve always seen color for music, she asked me what color the song was and it was navy blue.

How has this affected your study of music?

Its been incredibly useful. Since every individual note has its own color, I’ve been paying more attention to it so I can tune better. I can see when a piece is starting to get out of tune when the color of the piece starts to change hues. I’m working on my pitch by focusing more on the colors of the flats and sharps of notes.

Are there any negative effects?

It can get overwhelming. Sometimes I get sensory overload and have panic attacks and I have to be in complete silence for a while. But thats only happened every once in a while. Its a very enjoyable experience otherwise.

What notes are what colors?

C: White. D: Blue. E: Red. F: Orange. G: Green. A: Black/brown. B: Purple.

Thank you all so much for your questions! Please continue to ask me. I am an open book. (or open blog..)

Have a day filled with kittens, okay?

Zoey K.

Follow me on: Instagram: okayzoeyk Twitter: @okayzoeyk