How to not not believe in yourself

Alternate title: all the things I can articulate but refuse to accept.

At the end of the day, the greatest thing you have in this world, and will always have until the day you die, is yourself. You are your own biggest imported and exported commodity. So take care of yourself and believe in yourself, because doing the opposite really makes no sense. Here are my thoughts on how to go about doing that.

Really realize that what other people think of you does not matter, for the most part.

Whenever anyone says, in a pseudo-encouraging voice, “It doesn’t matter what other people think!” I always call bullshit. Because you know what? Yes, in some cases, it does matter. As a collective, we are expected to abide by certain cultural norms, sometimes for no reason, sometimes for the better. You can’t be horribly rude to people, making them hate you, and then justify yourself by claiming it doesn’t matter what people think of you. If you show up to a job interview wearing sweatpants and hangover-hair, it will matter what other people think because there’s a solid chance you won’t get the job. If you consider killing someone, it does matter what other people think because most other people will think killing is bad. Because, you know, it is.

But in terms of your self-identification, you shouldn’t get wrapped up in what others think about your interests and talents and appearance when they don’t affect anyone but you. Don’t ever be ashamed of the things you like, because if people make fun of you for that, they’re basically saying, “you’re dumb because you’re passionate about stuff,” which reflects more poorly on them than on you. And while Dove has exhausted all the platforms of being accepting of your physical appearance to the point of it being almost redundant, I still think there is still something to be said for not getting wrapped up in how others perceive your looks. When someone labels someone as “pretty and attractive” or “ugly and unattractive”, they are basing this off of personal opinion that actually isn’t entirely personal. We define “beauty” through cultural conceptions, which change over time, geography, culture and race. What was considered societally attractive in England in the 1600s is very different from England in 2014, which is additionally different from other parts of the world. But who the heck came up with this? What, so someone has a personal-yet-not-personal opinion on your looks that is actually based on an entirely made up system of evaluation with zero solid ground to stand on? Who gives a shit? Intelligence and personality are not shown in your facial features or body shape. Whether or not you’re a decent human being can’t be read in the shape of your eyes or colour of your skin. And I’m not even trying to sound all encouraging; it’s just a legitimate fact. Personally I think humans a weird looking across the board. I mean, have you ever really thought about noses and how messed up it is that there’s some protruding hunk of bone and flesh and cartilage sticking out from the middle of your face? Conventionally attractive or not, your nose is still weird.

Tell yourself, “I am talented.” Then, go tell everyone you know. And some people you don’t know, if you want.

If you ever worry that someone will think your short story or painting or performance or math skills or creation of any sort isn’t good enough, just think who the hell are they and what the hell are they basing their opinion off of? We live in a world of fake experts, people who think they know everything about anything which gives them the right to critique others, but it doesn’t. They think that they somehow know better than someone else. Call them on their bullshit. I’m sorry, but until you present me with a valid photo identification that proves you are Claude Monet, shut your mouth about my artwork.

Never be afraid to showcase the things you are proud of. If you did a sweet ass drawing of an armadillo, you show the world that sweet ass drawing of an armadillo. And don’t for one second worry that people will think you’re bragging or that you think you’re better than everyone. I mean, for all you know, you are better than everyone. Yes there is a line you can cross where you may seem to some people to be a pompous jerk, but I’d rather see a world of douchebags who are really damn proud of their accomplishments than a world of incredibly talented people who are too cautious and afraid to recognize their own abilities. It’s terribly sad to see someone with such passion be deflated by fear of criticism not even about their work, but their personality.

Don’t tell yourself you’re good enough. Tell yourself you’re good. Or better yet, fantastic.

“Good enough” is a horrible phrase. Good enough… for what? Good enough to reach a standard set by… whom? “Enough” implies that being accepted means you are at the bare minimum. It suggests that you tell yourself that you are not great, but it’s cool because you’re just getting by. Having faith in yourself and your abilities is not congruent to telling yourself that you are “enough” in the eyes of the general population. Because “good enough” attaches itself to the idea of approval from others. You shouldn’t strive for absolute approval from anyone but yourself. Do you think that you’re a cool person who is doing just fine and also has some really awesome traits? Good, that’s what matters. What about that boy you like? That group of friends you want to be a part of? Your classmates? Yes relationships with other people are healthy and can make you happy, but NEVER let yourself believe that you may in any respect not be “enough” for any of the people in your life, no matter what happens that leads you to believe it. Because “enough” is an awful goal to strive for, and another who leads you down that path isn’t worth your time. If you tell yourself, “I am not enough,” you’re right. You aren’t. You are not some crappy standard. You are not some minimum threshold. You are not some low societal expectation. You are so much more than that.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Now for the surprise plot twist: while I stand behind everything I just said as my 100% real opinion, the whole point of this post is that I refuse to live by it myself.

Here is a reality in my life that I am completely aware of: it isn’t that I don’t trust people, I just don’t always believe them. You could tell me over and over that I am funny or smart or interesting or kind or pretty or talented or whatever positive adjective that comes to mind, but sometimes I actually will not believe the words that come out of your mouth. And it isn’t even that I process them, think about it for a bit, and decide, “yeah that’s not a thing, you’re just kidding”. The instinct ingrained in my mind is to automatically not entirely hear you. It is actually like I don’t make myself aware that you are complimenting me and may actually mean what you’re saying. I don’t always believe in myself and I don’t always think I’m talented and I worry about what others think of me and I often fear that if I display my talents people will think I’m pompous. I often think that I am not enough.

Don’t worry; this isn’t an always thing. Sometimes I do think I’m incredibly witty and a very talented artist and a decent actor and pretty and a smart individual and whatnot. (Actually, I live this entertaining paradoxical life where sometimes I think I am better than everyone around me and that everyone else is always wrong. But that’s a story for another day.) But there are times where I really don’t think I’m all that great. This isn’t something that affects me 24/7 and keeps me up at night, and I am sure many other people have similar feelings towards themselves (that’s why I wrote this post). The point is that this is something I do struggle with in respect to a lot of different aspect of my life, and it can be really hard. I want to truly believe in myself and love myself and trust others when they tell me positive things, and especially not be afraid to think I’m amazing. But even more than that, I want everyone else to do the same. I want you to believe in yourself so much, because I know what it feels like when you don’t. So take the advice from a girl who’s been there and still is there, and who doesn’t wish any of this upon even her worst enemy.

This is usually the part where I end on a really awkward but equally positive note.

Umm…

When my grandmother was like 70 she went to some foreign country and rode a camel while wearing a fez. There’s a picture of it. I’m not joking at all.

It’s Wednesday again

Already? I swear the last one was only a week ago…

(Terrible joke, I know. But you should expect it by now.)

Now, I know that you are all eagerly at the edges of your seats, restlessly wondering what this week’s topic will be. Drum roll please. Ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum-ba-dum…

(That’s how a drum roll is apparently spelt in my head. I literally googled “drum roll sound spelling” to no avail. Sorry.)

Today’s topic is… today’s topic.

Let me explain. I’ve been spending the past several days ho-humming about what to write about and a lot of things have crossed my mind, but nothing really stuck. Well, some things did stick, but they all seemed to carry the theme of being cathartic posts about stressful and consuming things happening in my life or on my mind. And while writing about these things would be an excellent relief and would really help me sort out my thoughts, I’m not sure I’m quite ready.

I did originally make this blog just for my own sake, and I still write each week for that same reason. But the stats don’t lie, and I cannot deny the fact any longer that I am the only one reading this.

(WordPress has this page that tells you how many people have visited your blog and where they are from. It’s a horrible ego inflator. Last week someone from the UK read my post. The UK! Now I feel obligated to post about the best way to “put the kettle on” and a glowing review of Ricky Gervais.)

Now that I’ve had this blog for a few weeks and have somewhat proven that I’m sticking too it, I feel like I can expand my subject matter to the uncensored things on my mind. I can talk about the really personal parts of my life, and go on tangents about things I’m freaking out about even if they have no happy resolution. I want to be brutally honest about how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking, even if it sounds a little scary or like I’m not entirely okay. But then I remember again that I’m not the only one who reads this. Part of me is hesitant because I don’t want to worry anyone, because I hate when people worry about me. And part of my thinks it’s none of your damn business.

I’m also worried for another reason, and it sounds like a pretty silly reason, but it worries me nevertheless. I’m concerned that if I were to talk about major issues I have faced or am facing, people would read it and think that it’s a cry for attention and that it’s a desperate call for some recognition and sympathy. But I could not say it any clearer than I AM NOT ASKING FOR YOUR ATTENTION OR SYMPATHY AT ALL WHATSOEVER.

(Woah, all caps. I must mean business.)

I just want to be able to treat this like a personal journal that other people happen to read. There is something incredibly releasing about posting my thoughts on the internet. I reread it and edit it and choose my words carefully, so it is like I am able to have a conversation with myself to work things out. Which is pretty cool. And also saves me a lot of money on therapy.

I also worry about offending anyone. Which sounds dumb as I read it. I just have this constant voice in the back of my head telling me that if I voice my opinion on pop culture or politics or religion or social conventions, a hoard of people will gasp, furrow their brows, and stalk off to the comment section to give me a piece of their mind, or otherwise smile at me in passing but secretly carry resentment towards me. Yeah, I know, I’m a little dramatic. The point is that I am actually the last person who would ever wish to offend anyone, and I really don’t find most of my personal opinions terribly offensive. I just want to speak my mind without fear of being hated.

So what will the future be for this blog? Who knows. I would really like to be candid and open, and even though I have reservations I think I’ll try it, for my own sake. It’s really your choice to read this blog, and while those little statistic numbers are so fun to look at, I need to be loyal to myself and my motivations behind this. I may start by dipping my toe before I totally commit (shout out to Laurence Follows and anyone who gets that reference), but prepare yourselves, because Marecredi may get a lot more personal in the future. And if you don’t like it, well then you can leave.

(I’m totally kidding. Please stay. Especially you, Mr. UK. Come for tea any time.)

Marryl

I am going to tell you all a story. Well, it’s not really a story. It’s mostly just something I think is kind of cool that I don’t tell much.

My name is Marryl, which is strange. It’s strange because I do not personally know any other Marryls, nor does anyone who knows me, I don’t think. (I said personally. Academy Awards winners are excluded.) Sometimes I will literally stop and think about my name, sounding it out or shaping it with my mouth because it’s just so odd. Wow, I sound narcissistic. I promise I don’t do this that often.

What is even more odd is the spelling, which brings me to my story.

My grandma on my mom’s side was named Marion. My nana on my dad’s side was named Beryl. My parents took the “Mar” from Marion and the “ryl” from Beryl, smushed them together, and got my name.

(I was born to an art teacher and a graphic designer. Quelle surprise.)

So there you have it, in case you were ever wondering how all those letters ended up in that order on my birth certificate.

Now, I was going to say something somewhat sad about my name not making me feel any closer to my grandmothers or like they are a part of me now that they’re gone as it probably should. I was going to say that every time I tell this story I feel happy for a moment because I get to breathe live into my grandmothers, but then that all goes away when I am reminded that with each passing year my name slowly becomes one of the only remaining fragments of each of them. I was going to say that I am really horrible at accepting and moving on from death even five and thirteen years after the fact and that I still miss both of them with such crippling sadness like you can’t even imagine.

But this blog is still in its early, happy, honeymoon stage, so I won’t say any of that.

Though let me get one thing straight:

My name is NOT Marilyn.

Call me that and my grandmothers will surface from their graves and haunt you for all eternity.

Why I don’t eat animals

I was going to title this post, “Why I am a vegetarian,” but I don’t really like that word. Or at least I don’t feel as if it applies to me. What it means to be a vegetarian is defined differently by most people, and I’m not in the business of arguing what I think it actually means. So I prefer not to use it.

I was also going to call this, “Why I don’t eat meat,” but meat is a term that indicates something edible, which I don’t consider animals to be. That’s kind of the whole point.

To clarify:

– I don’t eat any previously (or still) living animals, no matter how they were raised or killed. Yes, that includes fish. I’ve never understood how fish are any less of an animal. I once had a goldfish named spot and I’m almost positive that he would be categorized under “animal”.

-I do eat eggs because the eggs we eat are unfertilized. Even without mating with a rooster, hens lay eggs just for funsies that are not going to turn into baby chickens.

-I do consume dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.). Why I am not a vegan is a whole other conversation to be had.

-This has been going on for a little over five years.

I want to disclaim now that I am in no way trying to “convert you to vegetarianism”. If you want tips, feel free to ask. Sure, I think it would be cool if no one ate animals, but I don’t preach what I practice. The point of this is for me to attempt to find an answer to the question that I am always asked because, to be honest, I’m not sure. My reasoning has changes so much over the years that I don’t have a set reason at all.

When I first became a vegetarian back in grade ten, it was because I watched a couple of those horrible videos that show the insides of slaughter houses and depict just how inhumanely factory farmed animals are treated. I was horrified, and was grossed out by the idea of eating animals ever again. So I stopped, just like that. But this makes me sound like a 15-year-old mildly uneducated and somewhat annoying animal rights activist. Which I was. But I am not anymore.

(The last meat product I ever ate, in case you’re curious, was schnitzel. How German of me.)

The largest part of it is that I honestly do not understand why humans eat animals. What is appetizing or appealing about putting something in your body that used to be alive and is now dead? Who was the first human to say, “Wow, look at that cow over there! It looks so majestic, standing in that field. Let’s kill it, stick these pink looking parts of its insides in a fire, and put them into our own insides!” Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. The point is that the social acceptability of eating a previously living thing truly makes zero sense to me. I think that it is strange and unappetizing.

Another main issue I have is with the monopoly that the human race holds over animals. We think that we are bigger, stronger, smarter and more important than the animals that out-populate us. We think it’s okay to corral them, control how they live, and make the choice to end their lives. Animals have thoughts and feelings just like humans. I value my life to no end, and I imagine animals value theirs just the same. I do not think that it is okay to raise a living being for the purpose of killing them, particularly when we set up a system in which they cannot defend themselves. The way I see it, killing an animal is killing. Side note: humans are also categorized as animals, in case everyone forgot.

On a slightly different note, something that has bothered me for the longest time that I don’t really bring up is the idea of being a “selective activist”. I’m talking about those heartbreaking Sarah Mclachlan commercials where “Angel” plays in the background while video clips of really sad cats and dogs flash across the screen. But while tears threaten the eyes of everyone around me, I just don’t get it. So many people will be appalled by the idea of cats and dogs being abused or abandoned, but they won’t feel the same about cows and pigs and sheep that face even worse. I’m not saying domestic animal abuse isn’t bad. What I’m saying is that the mistreatment of all animals should be placed at an equal level, regardless of which ones are societally considered cute house pets. I think cows are pretty damn cute. Have you ever seen a cow run? I have. It was adorable.

As a “vegetarian” I always get a some really fun responses and questions, and I’m sure you’re thinking at least one of these as you read this. So here’s my vegetarian FAQ section to clear everything up:

“If we didn’t eat meat, there would be an overpopulation of cows and chickens and pigs and they would band together and take over the world!”

No, because we’re responsible for the overbreeding of these animals for our food. But that would make a cool movie.

“But what do you eat?”

I connect myself to an IV drip of liquid tofu every evening to keep me alive. I occasionally have a few baby carrots.

“But God put animals on the planet to be eaten!”

Separation of church and state. The state being my digestive system.

“But meat tastes so good!”

I have this rare disease that caused me to be born without meat taste buds. It’s really tragic and my family is setting up a charity to raise money and awareness. Look for our indiegogo page within the next month.

“But bacon!”

I prefer Kevin.

I’m not sure if this cleared anything up for anyone, particularly myself. I also feel like I may have come across as a little preachy. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with somethings I’ve said, which is totally cool, and I encourage you to bring it up to me. I promise that I do not wish to shove vegetarianism down anyone’s throat so long as they don’t try to shove a hamburger down mine. If you’re curious about how to go about no longer eating animals, please ask. It’s fun and adventurous and really not hard at all. But my biggest piece of advice is that you have to quit cold turkey.

Yeah, I know, stupid pun.

I don’t know how to have a blog

I really don’t.

I also think the word “blog” is kind of a gross word. And not just because to me it carries this off-putting picture of a guy in a J. Crew button up or cotton infinity scarf in the back corner of some independently owned café, occasionally breaking his perma-snearing gaze at a MacBook screen to sip a soy chai tea latté.

(Disclaimer: I own nothing from J. Crew, nor do I frequent independently owned cafés, so I don’t expect to ever become this image. Oh, and I’m also not a guy.)

I just think the word sounds gross. Seriously, try saying it out loud. Blog. Blaaaahhg. Buh-law-guh. See? Gross.

But I have one now so I guess I’m stuck with it.

“Okay, Marryl, then why do you even have a blog?”

How funny of you to ask!

I don’t know.

I really love English and literature and writing, but all of the things I’ve done lately that involve those three have been school related. Which kind of sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I love school, stay in school, eat your vegetables and whatever (no, parents, I’m not trying to corrupt your children with my satanist social media platform), but the work I do for school sometimes gets to be so much that I feel as if I HAVE to do it as opposed to WANT to do it. I WANT to write a blog. I’m not entirely sure why and hope to figure that out as I go along, but I want to.

Though I’m not sure I’d really call any of this “writing”. Yeah, okay, Merriam-Webster would probably say otherwise. But really, I’m not trying to inspire nations with my incredible aptitude for vocabulary and syntax. This is all just stuff that I’m thinking. (“Stuff”, yeah, great vocabulary skills there, Marryl.) And I think a whole lot, too much for my own good probably, just about stuff and things and life and the world and people and myself, and I often don’t understand any of it. I have a flair for overanalyzing and overthinking.

But how can I “over” think about something, really? What exactly is the threshold for thinking, and who came up with it? I think a lot about a lot of things. Not consciously; I don’t have regularly scheduled ponder sessions (but I’m totally calling them that now). And I don’t know what thoughts are going to end up on this blog, and I don’t expect to even know while I’m writing. This is kind of just a way for me to decode my mind and lay out all these supposedly “over thought” thoughts to figure out at what point the world thinks I should have stopped thinking . You know, I think that all the stuff you think after the point where everyone says, “stop thinking!” is where you find the best thoughts.

Okay, if that didn’t just confuse you as much as it confused me, maybe you should be writing this blog instead.

(Seriously, though, who invented that word? They could have benefited from some more over thinking. Just gross.)

Judging from this post, the rest of these Wednesday meetings we’ll be having will be directionless. But please don’t misconceive this as “writing”, because I don’t think it is and it would be weird if it was interpreted that way. These are just things that have gone through my mind that I wanted to write down. It’s me trying to make sense to me by trying to make sense to you.

That didn’t make much sense.

Personally I think I may be too sarcastic, too big of a fan of puns, or too much of a closet narcissist to own a thing that is basically my brain 2.0, but hey.

I’m also really bad at endings.

…yeah.