Cleveland, Here I Come!

This time tomorrow, I’ll be in SFO, nervously waiting to board a red-eye flight to Atlanta. (I insist my layover will count as my first time in the South.) Then it’s onwards to Cleveland, where the largest conference for content marketing professionals will take over the city next week.

Content Marketing World will be the first conference I’ve gone out of town for and only my second business conference, so as a n00b, I’m pretty excited. But also a bundle of nerves. I’m not a huge fan of traveling, and I know I’ll need to find time to recharge alone during some of the networking breaks.

Aside from the various anxieties, I’m going to relish the opportunity to absorb knowledge from strategists and teams with so much experience. I’ll be focusing on goal-setting, the mobile experience, and as a writer/former journalist, of course I selected a few storytelling and journalism panels. (If there’s any buzzword I love, it’s brand journalism.) I also wouldn’t mind a little inspiration after a slower summer than expected. I could use a kick in the pants and a fire in my belly.

And did I mention Kevin Spacey will be giving the closing keynote?! He better speak in his Frank Underwood accent, or he’ll answer to me.

If you’re joining me in learning, find me at one of these sessions!

Reflecting on Robin Williams

Shortly after 4pm, my dad texted me the breaking news alert: Robin Williams had been found dead in his home. I gasped out loud and felt my face begin to flush as I read what had happened. I was shocked to learn he had been battling depression and had a history of substance abuse and had bipolar disorder.

What rock had I been living under? I thought.

But I bet a lot of casual fans will feel the same shock that I did. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen the majority of Robin Williams’ work, but he always made everyone laugh. He was a force of nature, and no one could ever replace him. So that’s why it hit me as hard as it did. The sheer tragedy of it all. The countless numbers of people that Robin Williams impacted in some way is unfathomable and to imagine all of those people equally shell-shocked hits me right in the gut.

I’m sure there are some great tributes out there or forming right now. Here’s just a small round-up of the stuff I’ve read and my thoughts:

No More Inspirational Videos!

Are inspirational videos for women and young girls peaking? Just in the past month, I’ve watched videos from Always, Pantene, Verizon, John Legend, and now Colbie Caillat. (The Elle interview with Colbie is worth a read.) All try to drum up support for female empowerment. I’m not sure why these are all being released around the same time, but I worry that each new video detracts from the effectiveness of others. It’s still a little shocking to see made-up women go au naturel, but less and less so.

Honestly, I find these videos pretty boring. They all start to blend together. I’m not even the most confident girl (growing up as an Asian girl with curly hair will do that to you), but a three-minute video doesn’t really mean anything to me. It doesn’t give me any action to take. What I really wonder is what young girls think about these videos. Does it make them think twice? Does any of it feel familiar? Does it plant a small seed that pays off when they go through puberty or their 20s? Or does it help teenagers feel more secure? Maybe I’m just too jaded and old.

As a consumer and creator of media, I’ve always mindlessly defended “the media.” I don’t like this idea of evil media corporations creating ideals that women squeeze themselves into, but that’s the reality, whether or not people do it mindfully. As an adult now, I know what I’m getting into when I read a women’s magazine or look up workout videos. I know you could critique the purpose behind those things, but I also choose to have faith and find outlets that support my overall health.

I applaud artists and corporations for showcasing females — regardless of their motivations — but eventually I’d like to see more support for men and boys. The male gender ideal is also super complicated. I don’t care if men already have more societal power and opportunities than women do, blah blah blah. They still deserve some messaging that redefines masculinity and tells them it’s okay to be themselves as well.

What Makes Your Heart Sing?

I am just plain tired.

I often say it all started after Daylight Savings. My sleep schedule was screwed up, and I never recovered or felt productive at work again. I woke up late, showed up late, and stayed late. (Even though our hours are flexible, it was late to me.)

But if I’m being truthful, I’ve been tired ever since I started at Credit Karma. I was always working to answer some crazy amount of tickets and I loved it more often than I hated it, but holy eff, that can be exhausting. I never worked for the weekend, but I often waited for the week to pass: “It’ll all be better once this week is over.” “After this month, things will be less crazy.”

And of course, things never - stop - being - crazy.

Binge Eating: I Hate You

I have an eating problem — not a disorder, but it’s still a problem.

I binge eat. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m already full.

I joke about that spring quarter when I got through classes on Ziploc bags of Red Vines. I laugh about how I had to wean myself from polishing off one jumbo-sized bag of Bare Fruit Apple Chips every week or two. (That spree lasted about two to three months earlier this year.)

Last night, I ate straight out of a pint of coffee ice cream when I had already eaten too much pasta for dinner. This led to some of the worst stomach (abdominal?) pain I’ve ever experienced. I laid in bed at 6:30am holding my Kaiser card, wondering if I should call the advice line. I probably got a total of three hours of sleep last night, and I was paranoid, grumpy, and achy all day today.

Ironically, I had been feeling strong yesterday. I did two different workouts and even went out for a brief run. But just because you exercise doesn’t give you permission to eat like a wildebeest.

People assume that petite people like me are healthy. We’re small and seemingly skinny enough. But that doesn’t mean I treat my body well, nor does it mean I can run a mile without stopping or do ten push-ups. (Now that I’ve started lifting light dumbbells, push-ups seem even more difficult!) I’ve been trying to mix up my exercises, but I know I’m still not getting enough cardio, even if I’m carving out muscles I’ve never had before.

I want to say that I’m going to stop snacking altogether now, but I still think about my last Red Vine (I recently picked up the habit again) and my mouth waters. I have little self-control and need to learn how to do right by my body.

I need to learn mindfulness, and this post — for whatever it’s worth — is my one tiny baby step towards that.

GRAAHHH

I hate you, HTML. I hate you so hard.