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/Caitlin

About Caitlin

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So far Caitlin has created 6 blog entries.

February 2017

Hit the Reset Button

Y’all. Getting older is hard. I’ve known this, of course, but living alone has made things way more clear for me. The first being that I feel thoroughly unprepared for this shit. And I know I’m not alone in that feeling. It’s not a ~*special millennial snowflake*~ feeling either, by the way. It’s a [holy-tits-no-one-informed-me-how-life-actually-worked,-and-I-wasted-time-learning-the-Pathagorean-theorum-instead-of-how-to-do-taxes] feeling.

Between the two-day hangovers and dealing with my credit card debt, I’ve begun to realize it’s okay to turn off. I had a panic attack at work a few weeks ago, which caused me to promptly break down and fall into a weekend of despair. Fortunately, I get to spend the majority of my weekends around fluffy dogs so that helps.

I needed to hit the reset button. I needed to sleep in, stay in my pajamas, savor a good cup of coffee, binge some Netflix, put on a face mask, and just chill the eff out for a few days.

I think we’re programmed to GO, GO, GO! so it makes us feel useless when we say, “No, I need to relax and do nothing. Us millennials have it tough too because everyone keeps telling us how lazy and self-centered and whiny we are. Last time I checked, I wasn’t complaining about working 60+ hours a week, not sleeping, and eating leftovers that may or may not have been a week old. That’s all fine.

I’ll say it: I work my ass off. I want to be successful and have been working like that Rihanna song since I was in high school. Not everyone in my generation can say that, but the majority of my friends have the work ethic of a Stark trying to get home to Winterfell. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get stressed and anxious and tired.

As someone living with anxiety, normal things are way more difficult for me to accomplish. For me to even get out of bed in the morning is an achievement. Bonus if I get up early and do something before I go to work. It’s easy from the outside looking in to say that I have my shit together. I do, for the most part! I have an apartment, a job, a wonderful dog, and friends. I do things! But you know what?

I don’t want to do things all the time. I need to reset sometimes, and so do you. You’re allowed to do that. You need to do that. It’s much better and healthier to take care of yourself by recharging your batteries on a regular basis than to wait until you crack like I did.

Moving forward this year, I’m making reset weekends a priority. You should do the same. Consider this your permission to chill.

November 2016

Why I’m Terrified as a Woman That Trump Won the Election

hermione-crying
Oh no, not another think piece. Especially not by—gasp!—a woman.
First of all, fuck.
Second, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this for the past 12 hours. I’ve wracked my brain thinking about how to explain to my pro-Trump family members, friends, and loved ones as to why this is so upsetting and traumatizing. It’s so difficult to express to those who just don’t get it.
People wanted “change” and to erase the typical political bullshit. I get that. I by no means think politicians are saints, but a majority of the time, politicians lie out of protection instead of malice. People like Trump because he’s not a politician. (Because why would you want a politician to do the job of a politician?? Next time you need surgery are you going to see someone who isn’t a surgeon?)
People say Trump “tells it like it is” and “speaks his mind” so he must be trustworthy. He’s ~relatable~ right?! In the words of Donald J. Trump himself, “WRONG.”
Donald Trump is not for you. He does not have your best interests at heart, should he miraculously have one. He is a so-called rich white man, born with a gold spoon in his mouth. He has not struggled. He is not for the working class or middle America. He doesn’t know what it’s like to not have health insurance or to be the victim of prejudice. He doesn’t give a shit about you.
One of my best friends is Mexican. Her parents are immigrants. She’s legitimately scared of the hatred being spilled toward Hispanics.
One of my best friends is married to an Iranian man, who is Muslim. He’s terrified of the hate he may soon experience because the President-elect believes Muslims are terrorists or know terrorists, as if they’re all in a GroupMe together.
My black friends feel isolated and horrified because the nation has elected someone that was endorsed by the KKK and refused to denounce it. They woke up in the morning to KKK members celebrating in public. They do not feel safe, and why would they?
My LGBTQ friends are feeling worse than ever as the nation has elected someone who plans to overturn the Supreme Court decision that made gay marriage legal. Because people are so worried about other people’s sex lives as if it affects them when the heterosexual divorce rate is 50%. The nation has elected someone who’s running mate supports conversion therapy, which means using electro-shock treatments to literally shock the gay out of people. And he signed a “religious freedom bill” allowing businesses to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation.
The majority of my female friends are panicking because, yes, our nation is sexist. But now we know how sexist. Now we have a President-elect who has no problem sexually assaulting women and bragging about it, who thinks women are disgusting and beneath him, who believes pregnant women are bad for employers, and the list goes on and on and on to the point where I’m exhausted. When you have a leader who believes those things, you have his followers who believes those things as well. Some men have already been bragging about that it will “be legal to grab pussy now” and laughing. That is horrific.
I cannot imagine what people of color and minorities are feeling right now. I’m terrified. Not necessarily because I think Trump will be able to do a lot of the crazy things he said. I’m scared because of his supporters who think they have permission now to do whatever they want.
I’ve always felt unsafe as a woman in this country, especially as I’ve gotten older and more aware.
I have been sexually assaulted in private and multiple times in public.
I have been grabbed by the pussy many times in my life. The first time it happened I was 8-years-old. My neighbor did it.
I have had my breasts groped because guys felt they had the right to touch me. This happens on a regular basis.
I’ve had men grab my hair and smell it because they felt like it.
I’ve had strangers grab me by the wrist as I walked by because they “just want to know me.”
I’ve been cornered by an executive who harassed me, telling me he wanted to sleep with me during a company event. I was told my career would be ruined if I came forward and that I shouldn’t ruin the man’s reputation when I should be flattered.
I have been followed home from work, into my building, by a man who was mad that I refused his catcalls.
I have been told I owed a man sex—or at least a blowjob!—because he bought me drinks at a bar.
I have been told I cannot do certain things because I am a woman, despite the fact that I am incredibly more talented and hard-working than many of the men I’ve worked with.
I have been told I deserve to be paid less because I have a vagina.
I have been told to “get back in the kitchen” and to “shut up and learn my place.”
I have been threatened by men I did not know and by men I dated.
I have been called too sensitive when I express any feelings and bitchy and shrill when I don’t.
I have been told I was bossy when leading projects.
I have been told I am “too pretty to be so smart.”
I have been told I am worthless.
I have been told I am nothing.
I have been told I am just something to fuck.
And you just elected someone who supports all of the above.
Please remember to spread kindness and love, not hate. I’m not happy, like many of you, but let’s work together to keep moving forward. I want a future where when I have a daughter she doesn’t have to write a think piece about how society hates her and her friends.
dumbledore-happiness-can-be-found-in-the-darkest-of-times

September 2016

On the Importance of Asking for Help

woman sitting on rock above trees

Being raised as a strong-willed, independent woman proved to be a blessing. I pride myself on being self-sufficient, hard-working, and responsible. My parents certainly raised me that way, but I began exhibiting those qualities early in life. I was one of those kids who wanted to do things on my own without any help. If I didn’t know how to do something, I would figure it out. And that was before we had the internet!

Asking for help has always been a difficult task for me. It killed me to get tutored during my sophomore year of high school when I was barely passing chemistry. When I injured my knee, it took me nearly two months to suck it up and see a doctor—turns out I needed surgery. After suffering a pulmonary embolism, I terrified everyone around me because I didn’t want anyone to help me with anything.

A few years ago, I was living in New York. I had just been dumped. I was struggling with my job. I hated winter. The city was destroying me, and my anxiety was at an all-time high. I didn’t know what to do. Instead of trying to just figure it out and continue to be miserable, I got help. I found a wonderful therapist, made a ton of life-changing decisions, and started to feel okay again.

Recently, I found myself in a position where I needed some help. As an adult, it’s even more difficult. You want to think you have your shit together and that you can handle it. But you know what? No one our age has their shit together! No one knows what they’re doing. I have an incredible job, a roof over my head, and the best dog ever. And yet life does not seem to be going the way I thought it would. That’s okay!

I’m so #blessed to have an unbelievable support system and recognize that not everyone is so lucky. But everyone should know that you can get help when you need it. You just have to ask.

help will always be given at hogwarts

via

I’m not sure when asking for help became synonymous with weak or incapable, but that is some bullshit. Don’t listen to that nonsense. It takes an incredibly strong person to realize they can’t do it all alone, so don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about it.

xo

Caitlin

March 2016

7 Must-Have Apps For Anyone With Anxiety

When you look at me on the outside, you won’t see anxiety. You’ll see a relatively put together, smiley, and upbeat woman with a bounce in her curls and a pep in her step. I often greet with an extended “Hiii!” and a hug. Maybe a high five if I’m feeling particularly perky. People see me with a coffee cup and iPhone in hand, be-boppin’ around like I don’t have a care in the world.

hellovia Giphy
If only you knew what was going on in my brain, you guys. People usually don’t believe me when I say I have anxiety because I’m so good at pretending like I don’t. Part of that facade is because of the stigma mental illness has in our society, and the other part is because I want to be happy and normal so I really try. Plus, I kind of hate talking about my problems in person to people I don’t know, and it’s very difficult to explain what anxiety feels like. For me, it feels like I’m drowning but above water and sometimes it makes my head want to pop off of my body. But I digress. You wouldn’t know by looking at me that I struggle with anxiety and depression because I don’t show that side of me to the general public.

So what’s my secret?

Well, first of all, I’m medicated. Secondly, I’m in therapy. And thirdly, I utilize the wonderful world of technology! Since I rarely go anywhere without my phone, I use it to help me in my everyday battle with anxiety. My friends are always asking me what apps I use to conquer my mental health struggles, so here you go:

1. Headspace

Yeah, yeah. Everyone and their mother uses Headspace. But there’s a reason: it actually works! I like Headspace because it provides free 10-minute meditation sessions, but it also gives you the opportunity to purchase more packages if you want. There’s no pressure. Plus, the app is super clean, easy to use, and cute.

2. Simply Being

Simply Being is, well, simple. You set your meditation time, music, volume, and voila! You’re on your way to an easy guided meditation. My only caveat is the voice can be a little annoying, but it’s not like nails on a chalkboard or anything.

3. Breathe

Breathe is a super cool app. It does provide guided meditation, but what’s really great is that it tailors your session to how you’re feeling that day. You check in and answer questions about your mood, and the app gives you a variety of sessions that will help you specifically based on your needs. And it tracks your meditation progress in a neat chart.

4. CBT-i Coach

I wouldn’t have picked out CBT-i Coach if I had just seen it in the app store. I downloaded it per recommendation of my therapist, who is literally the best. While the app design looks like it’s straight out of Windows ’98, it’s actually very useful. It gives you tips on everything from sleeping to mindfulness, tracks your sleep, and provides guided meditation. You can also schedule alerts that remind you to meditate or stop drinking coffee after 2 PM.

5. Sleep/Relax

One night, I was perusing the app store during a bought of insomnia, and I stumbled upon Sleep/Relax. The description explained it as a hypnosis app. I figured I’d give it a shot. Within five minutes of putting on the “Sleep Like a Baby” session, I was legit asleep like a baby. Now if I’m ever wide awake at night, I use this app.

6. Notes

“Caitlin, Notes isn’t an anxiety app.” Yeah, you’re right. But when I get anxious, I like to write things down and monitor why I’m feeling anxious at that particular moment. It’s called being aware of your triggers, trick. Anyway, even as a seasoned writer, I for whatever reason don’t always have a notebook or journal around. So I catalog my ~feels~ in Notes. You could use any kind of note-taking app I suppose, but this one is already downloaded and syncs to my computer.

7. Puzzle Game of Choice

You know what I do when I’m really freaking out about something? Well, first I practice mindfulness or meditate and get in the zen zone or whatever. Then, I play a puzzle game. Some might say this serves as a distraction, but see, the loophole is that I am mindful before playing any games! I used to rely on Candy Crush, but it would stress me out to the point of wanting to throw my phone out the window. Now I play a word game called Alphabear. Choose a soothing and/or thoughtful game for your brain. If you do something with words or numbers, it will also boost your knowledge in the process so it’s a win/win.

I’ll level with you: anxiety suuuuucks. I have good days and bad days, but I’ve learned that being active in managing my anxiety is key. If some apps can help you chill the eff out, why not give them a try?

What are your fave anxiety/depression/whatever management apps?

xo

Caitlin

February 2016

Toxic

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I really don’t *do* resolutions. I feel like you’re just setting yourself up for failure if you give yourself unrealistic goals like lose 20 pounds before Valentine’s Day or something outrageous. That’s why I give myself overarching themes that I can stick with during the year. It puts way less pressure on yourself, and it can actually be enriching.

I did a pretty solid job in January of adhering to my ~life themes~ so I thought I’d share them:

Remove toxic/negative people and things

I’ve spent too much of my short 25 years on this Earth dealing with toxicity and negativity. I’m over it. I don’t have time for people or things that will bring me down. Since cutting out soul-suckers and general bad juju, I feel a million times better.

Say yes to things that scare you

As someone with anxiety, doing things outside of my comfort zone can be quite debilitating. In the past, if I was afraid to do something, you couldn’t pay me to actually do it. But I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t necessarily say “Yes!!” to every opportunity, but I at least say “I’ll try.”

Don’t be an asshat

After spending time in New York, I had become a cranky ole curmudgeon. I’m a nice person! But I became cynical, rigid, and kinda mean. While I have a dry sense of humor and speak in sarcasm, I didn’t like that I was, well, a jerk. So this year, I’m aiming to be a better person in general.

Chill the eff out

I spend an exorbitant amount of time worrying, panicking, and thinking. If you spent a minute inside of my head, you’d probably want to jump off the nearest bridge. I need to relax so I’m working on meditating every day (even if it’s just for 10 minutes), taking more bubble baths, and just breathing.

Don’t be so obsessed with your phone

In 2015, I took a shit-ton of pictures and videos of various things and activities. I was so busy capturing those moments that I didn’t actually get to enjoy them. I love having a smartphone and being in touch with the world, but I’ve been living through my phone. In 2016, I’ve been putting my phone away, putting it on “Do Not Disturb” mode at night, and even *gasp* turning it off completely. I do bring my phone with me everywhere for safety purposes, but there is no more checking texts at dinner.

Did you make resolutions for the year? Have you kept up with them so far?

xo

Caitlin

Hello, It’s Me

surprisei bet you thought youd seen the last of me

It’s been a while, huh?

Here’s a basic breakdown of events:

August 2012

moved to New York

January 2013

worked as an editor at Gurl.com

September 2014

moved back to Atlanta

August 2015

left Gurl.com

August 2015-present

traveled, lived, wrote a book, hung out with my dog

I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers on the internet about why I left my job and what I’m doing with my life. I don’t owe it to anyone to answer said questions, really. But resigning from your job which provides you with a stable income at 25 is not common. It’s frowned upon, actually.

We’re raised to go to college, graduate, get a job, and have a career.

No one tells you how messy that will be. No one tells you about the soul-crushing anxiety you might experience. No one tells you about the imposter syndrome you’ll have. No one tells you how horrible it is to really have adult expenses.

No one tells you that no one has any damn idea what they’re doing.

But, most importantly, no one tells you that it’s okay to take a break and change the course of your life.

I had a wonderful job where I got to write every day for an incredible audience of over 6 million viewers per month. I was part of a closely-knit team, surrounded by strong women whom I admired. I had a tremendous amounts of flexibility and freedom. I was in New York City! I was living the dream. I was happy.

Except that I wasn’t.

New York is one of my favorite places in the world. But it is not one of my favorite places to live. Crippling rent aside, I was drowning in fear, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, and stress. I was exhausted and nearly became an alcoholic to cope. There’s a reason most people look miserable in the city: because they’re miserable.

Yes, I had fun and experienced so much magic and wonder and awe. But I wasn’t happy.

So I left.

I came home to my loving family and set up shop back in my childhood bedroom, which is quite weird when you’ve been on your own for a while. Fortunately, I have great parents who love and support me and who missed me enough to invite me back to the house! I was working remotely. I got a puppy! I didn’t have to get on the subway. I was in a new relationship. I was happy.

Except that I wasn’t.

I was happy-ish. I got out of said relationship, which ended up being a blessing. At that point, I started reevaluating my life again. I thought that coming home would solve my problems, but it didn’t. It certainly helped, but it didn’t magically make anything perfect. I realized I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I love to write, but I was just going through the motions. I wasn’t putting out my best work or writing things I actually wanted to.

So I left.

Resigning from a job is scary, but I was relieved. For the first time in three years, I was able to just breathe. I took time off to rest, travel, go to yoga, sleep, work on a book, paint, hang out with my dog, and do all of the things I didn’t have time to do before. I recharged my batteries. I’m happy.

Some people looked at me like I was batshit insane when I said I left my job without having another job lined up. But that was the plan. At 25, I was so stressed out that I wasn’t enjoying my life. My plan was to not have a plan. For someone who used to plan out every hour of every day, it feels pretty damn good to go with the flow for once.

I don’t know what I’m doing next, and that’s okay. It’s awesome, even, because I’ve had time to really figure out what I want in my career and my life. What’s the point if you’re just going through the motions of something you think you’re supposed to do?

At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and be able to sleep at night. If you’re not happy with how things are going in your life, you’re the only one who can make changes. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing because we’re all just fumbling around trying to figure shit out.

xo

Caitlin