How to Contact Your Representative

How to Contact Your Representative / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Hello, hi, howdy and welcome to my first official political post in which we discuss how to contact your representative. Regardless of what your political opinion is, it is very important to know how to contact your officials. Your voice doesn’t end with voting for your president and it’s important to stay in contact with your officials. But unfortunately, not everyone knows how to talk to them– or even who their representatives are. So let’s change that, huh?

Let’s just start by saying that this is a non-partisan post. I obviously have political opinions (follow me on Twitter and you know exactly what those are) but this post is not for that. The point of this post is to make sure each person is armed with the knowledge of how to stay in contact with their officials, regardless of their ideologies.

How to Contact Your Representative:

  1. Know your elected officials. Your senators and representatives are JUST as important as your president. This website is the official US Gov site on contacting your officials, but (in my opinion) isn’t as user friendly. WhoIsMyRepresentative.com can help you find who your representatives and senators are by searching via zip code or by state. It will also link you to their webpages and contact info.
  2. Learn their stance on issues that are important to you. The internet has tons of great resources to find out more about them and their voting record. VoteSmart.org and OnTheIssues.org are great sites to learn about their stance on important issues and how they’ve voted in the past.
  3. Write them a letter. They represent YOU. Let them know what issues are important to you. If you don’t agree with their record, you can tell them– but be respectful about it. They’re not likely to pay attention to a letter full of expletives. Explaining your points and why you feel that way is a much more valid argument than just telling them they’re wrong. Even if you do agree with their record, tell them, and tell them why. About.com has a great article on tips for writing a letter, and although this other template is about biology, it’s a great example of the format a general template for writing to your representatives. Just take out all the science stuff and replace it with what is specific to you.
  4. Stay updated on what is happening. Whatever happens in congress is public record, and is archived. The best places I found to read about the legislation in the senate on Senate.gov, and the House of Representatives on Clerk.House.gov. The websites aren’t super user-friendly, so take some time to explore them. Each bill has a name, so you can watch pieces of legislation as they are updated. You can follow specific pieces that are important to you and track their progress. And although the news covers them, you can also follow Executive Orders signed by Trump on WhiteHouse.gov and read them for yourself.
  5. Continue to voice your opinion. If something happens that you are happy about then write, email or call your representative’s office. If something happens that you don’t like, do the same. They are YOUR representative. And the only way they can represent you is if they know how you feel.

Bonus: Always, always, always fact-check yourself. Don’t blindly share things that you see online. There is such a thing as “fake news” and it’s unfortunately all over social media pages. A quick Google search to see if something is real will save you from spreading false info. It’ll also keep you from looking dumb, which is nice.

There are tons of other ways to stay updated with what is happening in our government, but this is what works for me.

If you have other ways you like to contact your congressman, or other ways to stay updated on what is happening in congress, please leave them in the comments for others to see. Let’s make it a little easier to make our voices heard.

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2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Let's talk about our 2017 New Year's Resolutions! / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Happy New Year! Anyone else waste the first day of the brand new year on the couch? No? Me either. Let’s not talk about it. But you know what we should talk about? Goals for 2017– also known as New Year’s Resolutions. Those are fun and not at all soul-crushing come October of said new year and you realize that you’re still fat, broke, and single despite making a drunken declaration as the ball drops.

So fun! Let’s do them. Below are my New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t forget to share yours with me in the comments!

  1. Eat better. I am going to start taking my lunch to work, and making an effort to cut down on unnecessary calories, like sauces, dressings, and anything else that makes food edible. But I will probably take a cheat day once per week. Give myself a chance to have something delicious. Or maybe I’ll take two per week, just to be safe. Or three. Ya know, I won’t really know until I really get there. Maybe a cheat meal… like, per day. We’ll see.
  2. Exercise more. Maybe I’ll do Pilates. Or yoga. Or Pi-Yo. Or Pi-Yo-P90x. Or just blend up a yoga mat with some kale and drink that while staring at a women’s health magazine. Probably same effect, right? And it’s healthy!
  3. Save money. I am going to start keeping a log of everything I spend my money on. Including the hundreds that I personally donate to GrubHub each month in exchange for semi-stale and cold food to be delivered to me on my couch. And stop taking Ubers when I already pay for a bus pass. Except when it’s cold, or my feet hurt, or the bus is going to take longer than 8 minutes to get to me. I have to draw the line somewhere.
  4. Be more responsible. Do my laundry before the pile casts a shadow over my kitchen counter. Buy toilet paper before I completely run out. Bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store. Stop shopping as a way to fill the emotional void. Ya know, just be smarter with my choices.
  5. Find a boyfriend. I have decided to finally give into the social construct that a woman is not allowed to be single by choice. Even though dating makes me want to throw up, and I work two jobs and like to spend my downtime on my couch as opposed to at bars that also make me anxious, 2017 will be the year I find a mate. No lesbian jokes at Thanksgiving 2017, no sir. Not this year!
  6. Accept the current political climate, hold onto my reproductive rights, feel safe walking down the street alone at night, personally identify who the Zodiac Killer is, solve world hunger, pass an Illinois State budget, and finally match up all my socks. If I have time after yoga, that is.

Happy 2017! Cheers to a new year and a new you! Good luck on your New Year’s Resolutions! #Werk

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10 Reasons Why I’m A Garbage Person

It's fine to be a Garbage Person... to an extent. And I'm afraid I may have gone past that acceptable range... // CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Hello, my name is Kelsey and I am a Garbage Person.

What is a Garbage Person, you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask at all? That’s fine because I’m still going to tell you.

Being a Garbage Person is a way of life. It’s being so lazy in certain aspects of life that you are ashamed to admit your laziness out loud. It’s doing certain things with so little effort that you are almost impressed with yourself. Garbage People are not exactly gross, unmotivated, or bad people. But we can be sometimes… and we’re okay with it. #GarbagePersonForLife

However, my Garbage-ness is starting to overtake my regular self. And I feel like I am falling into a downward spiral and need to pull myself out of it or else I face a very trashy future.

To start the healing process it seems as if admitting my Garbage-ness is the first step. But, as I’m afraid I may lose some of my friends if I were to truly admit all of my Garbage ways, I thought I’d just round up the highlights.

10 Reasons I’m A Garbage Person

  1. In the past week I have sprayed air freshener from the work restrooms on myself because I forgot perfume that morning and was worried that I might smell. So instead I smell like “fresh linen.”
  2. I really wanted a milkshake to drown my sorrows in while I worked on job applications but I didn’t have a blender, so I let the ice-cream melt on the counter so I could sip it instead.
  3. Without finishing my current coffee I have bought another coffee in anticipation of needing it. Two coffees. I even had someone commemorate it with a picture.
  4. Every single one of my “bright spots” (AKA a happy thing in our lives) at our weekly staff meeting at work has been related to food. If it’s not then I get called out for it. My brand at work is “food.”
  5. I recently tried to throw my garbage away but the garbage chute was full so I just turned around brought the garbage back into my apartment. Seriously. Actual Garbage Person. The dumpster felt too far. I may or may not live on the second floor, but it still felt too far.
  6. On more than one occasion I have used lipstick as blush when I couldn’t find my blush.
  7. I have faked receiving a phone call to get out of a conversation at least twice in the last month. One of those times was today. I’m not sorry.
  8. Last week I set up my mat to do yoga and then instead laid on the mat for 45 minutes watching baking videos on my phone instead of actually doing yoga. And then left the mat on the floor because “my cat likes to lay on it.”
  9. Once, when my leggings ripped, instead of just not wearing them I used duck-tape on the inside of the legging to cover the hole until I went to get new ones. I even drew on the exposed tape with a black marker to help it blend in. I also did this many, many, many times, and thought it was hilarious.
  10. After catering shifts, instead of taking a regular shower, I sit down in my tub with my shower on when I wash my hair. It takes forever and totally defeats the purpose of a shower. But my legs are usually throbbing so I refuse to apologize for this.

And those are just the things that I feel comfortable admitting. I’m hoping that by stating that I have a problem I can start to heal from my trashy tendencies. Recognizing the problem is the first step, right?

Thank you all for your kind thoughts as I try to work through this rough point in my life.

Do you have Garbage-like tendencies? What are they? I’d love to hear them so I can start to hate myself less. Leave them in the comments!

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Things That Happen When You See A Therapist

A few unexpected things that will happen when you start seeing a therapist. // CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

I’ve been seeing a therapist for a few months now.  I felt like I was no longer effectively managing my anxiety on my own, and needed help– so I got it. I’ve been seeing her weekly, and so far it has been really great. And despite the fact that there is no leather chaise lounge for me to lay on while we talk, I have relatively few complaints. (Though her black leather sofa is super cute and comfy.)

I’ve seen a therapist before, but this was my first time seeing someone consistently. And although I had some expectations for how it would go when I started, I had no idea how much seeing a therapist would affect areas of my life outside of just my anxiety coping skills.

For example:

Talking about yourself will get easier

I don’t like talking about myself unless it’s to make someone laugh. Talking about “bad” things has always been kind of hard for me. At my very first session I really struggled with effectively explaining myself, and repeatedly second guessing myself when I spoke. Now I am much more comfortable with it.  I don’t always feel like the most effective communicator in general, but I feel like I am greatly improving on that just by spending an hour a week trying to properly articulate my feelings.

You look at your everyday habits differently

I talk a lot about my social anxiety with my therapist, and we focus a lot on how I behave and feel in social situations. Becoming aware of those behaviors has made me aware of other things I do in my life.  I’ve made the revelation that I prefer the bus to the train because of my anxiety, and am constantly diverting attention from myself when I’m in a new situation. I am starting to understand my preferences and actions in other situations, even though those never get talked about in my actual sessions. Without meaning to, I am taking the tools I am learning from my sessions into other areas of my life.

You will gain confidence

Hearing that my anxiety is validated felt like a huge weight off my shoulders.  I had already been diagnosed several years ago, but regularly being told by a professional that I am not just “worrying”, and that “snapping out of it” is not an option makes me feel better. My thoughts, and feelings are real, and being told that feels liberating. I feel less and less conscious about my anxiety as time progresses.

You will LOVE having a space to focus only on yourself

Having one hour completely devoted to ME without guilt is fantastic. It is a space to talk through the overwhelming internal monologue that builds up every week with another person, and I always leave feeling more relaxed and refreshed having done so. It’s almost like getting a mental massage. If for no other reason, I would recommend everyone to try therapy at least once just to experience the relief of the release.

You will struggle with how to refer to your therapist in regular conversation

His/her impact on your life doesn’t stop when you leave the office, and sometimes you have to refer to them to others who may not know the details of your situation. I have made professional connections through my therapist, and had to think fast about how to answer the “So how do you know ___?” question. (Hint: “I know her through her work” is a good way to stop that question cold and illicit a somewhat embarrassed reaction from the other person. I don’t recommend it.) Relaying a restaurant recommendation, or funny story from a session has been replaced with “My friend” instead of “My therapist” just to avoid having to have that awkward conversation.

Obviously, these revelations won’t fit every single person, but they are things that have become very true for me. The tools I am taking with me from each session are wonderful, and have improved my life very much, for my anxiety and for just life in general. If you’re at all on the fence about seeing someone, please just take the plunge.  Finding the therapist you connect most with won’t be immediate — it honestly felt a little like trying on jeans: feeling upset and let down until you find your perfect fit– but it is so worth it when you do find it.

By the way, I have another post planned on how I went about finding a therapist (It’s here!). BUT if you have questions, please feel free to comment or reach out to me in another way and ask! I already have gone through the process of finding one, so that post is not for my benefit, it’s yours! Help me make sure I’m helping you!

Got any questions? Have you ever seen a therapist and have some noticed some unexpected changes in your life? Share them!

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24 Thoughts on Turning 24

24-thoughts-on-turning-24-poka-dot-baby-candidly-kelsey

Happy Birthday, Me! Today I turn 24 years old.  Time to party! Or, only 1 more year until my quarter life crisis! Much like last year’s 23 Things on Turning 23, I decided to share the wisdom I have learned as I celebrate another anniversary of when a world without Kelsey became a world with Kelsey.  Enjoy!

  1. Cool, only one more year until I can officially declare a Quarter-Life Crisis.
  2. It’s only a matter of time now until my metabolism starts slowing down.
  3. Gross. I need to start getting my life together now, don’t I?
  4. Years are going faster and faster now that I have more time in the past to compare them. That’s terrifying.
  5. I wonder how many more years until my face stops breaking out. Any day now, right? Puberty should be ending sometime soon.
  6. Age does not mean adulthood. I may be able to make my own doctor’s appointments, but I still call my Mommy to ask laundry/cooking/life/philosophical questions at least once per day.
  7. I should probably buy stock in antacids now.
  8. This past year was huge for me, and I’m very excited to continue on with the momentum of those major changes to continue to see positive change in my life. Like getting more cats.
  9. Goat cheese is amazing, and I’m ashamed it took almost 24 years for me to figure that out.
  10. Now I want goat cheese.
  11. Life is too short and time passes too quickly to not choose to be happy. Even if you can’t feel happiness, focusing on cutting out whatever negativity you can and working towards what makes you happy is 100% worth it.
  12. Puppies make me happy. So do cats. I should get another cat.
  13. Naps also make me happy.
  14. It’s totally okay to do things by yourself, and try new things by yourself. You don’t always need to hide behind other people.
  15. Living alone is actually really great.
  16. You have to learn how credit and credit scores works. Seriously. You have to.
  17. Now is the time to start addressing things that you think may be problems, especially with mental health. If you think something is wrong, better try to fix it now than regret it later.
  18. Preventative Care.  Say it again for the kids in the back: PRE-VENT-A-TIVE CARE.
  19. Food is starting to hurt me. Why is food, something I hold so near and dear to my heart, starting to hurt me?
  20. I am not 21 anymore. I cannot drink like I am 21 anymore. I cannot live my life the day after drinking like I did when I was 21. It just doesn’t happen. Time to accept that and move on.
  21. There is nothing wrong with being a 20-something homebody. It’s fine. Embrace the sweatpants and Netflix life on Fridays and you could be much happier. Add some goat cheese and you could be REALLY happy.
  22. A couple thousand in savings seems like a lot until you need to spend it.  Always be putting money away. ALWAYS! You never know what will happen/when you will need it.
  23. Just because something is normal doesn’t mean it’s right for you. I’m referring to no longer having a car– but this can be used for pretty much anything. You do you, boo. Life is too short.
  24. A year ago on this day I was very unhappy. I had no idea that in a short 365 days I would be sitting in my Chicago apartment, working from home for my nonprofit job, and taking a break to write this blog post. You just never know, kids.

Cheers, friends!

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