#3: ask me anything
i answer your burning q's.
Hi you guys! Thanks for reading another installment of hey howie. You effing rock. Since it’s the last Sunday of the month, I’ll be answering questions that you guys submitted via IG, Twitter, and more. I hope these are helpful! Again, I’m no expert, but I like to think I give good advice? Let me know in the comments. Enjoy!
How do you know when to trust your gut versus when to trust yourself beyond that?
In short, I'm a believer in going with your gut. If something makes me feel “off,” it probably feels that way for a reason. I’ve had a lot of experiences that tell me going with my gut leads to solid decision-making. Times in which I’ve ignored my instincts typically resulted in a less-than-optimal outcome.
Basically, I think you should operate based on your own experiences. If you feel that your gut has been a good indicator of right from wrong in the past, then keep it up! If you’re not comfortable making choices based on a ~sensation~ in your organs, that’s also totally understandable.
When it comes to trusting myself beyond “gut” feelings, though, here’s what I have to say: The older I’ve gotten, the more confidence I have in myself and my capabilities. Yes, I’m young in the ~grand scheme of things~. But my lived experiences tell me that I know what I’m doing, I know what I’m talking about, and that I’m an adult human who can take care of herself just fine, thank you very much! So yes, I have enough faith in myself to trust whatever decisions I make, but more importantly, I know I’m strong enough to deal with whatever outcome comes my way, regardless.
I also consult my parents, sisters, boyfriend, or closest friends before I make big decisions, because why not. Use the people around you! They’re there for a reason. Let them help you. While I know a lot (lol), I’d be nothing without the support from my loved ones. I value their perspectives, but at the same time, I don’t give them any more weight than my own understanding of the world. (If that makes sense!)
Do you believe in marriage or monogamy?
The short answer to this question is no. I don’t believe that a relationship needs to be legitimized by a government entity in order for it to be valid. I’ve seen many people in healthy, loving relationships who chose not to get married, and I’ve seen many people who are married but their relationship is devoid of compassion and support. To me, a partnership is best defined by the two people in it, and not by a (historically sexist!) piece of legal paper.
Personally, I’ve never envisioned having the whole white dress, big ceremony moment for myself, either. The thought of worrying about what I look like in a dress I’d never wear again, planning a whole fucking party and dinner, and having a photographer take my picture, is quite nightmare-ish. I’m more of a get-married-on-a-whim-at-the-court-house-for-tax-purposes kind of gal.
As for monogamy, that’s a whole different story. I derive a lot of my relationship-related thoughts from psychotherapist Esther Perel’s body of work. I suggest you give her a search, because she’s incredible.
I don’t really believe in the idea of “monogamy,” per se. To me, it’s completely natural for humans to be attracted to different people, to have crushes, to be in love with multiple individuals at once, etc., and I think that the monogamous framework limits us from acting on our natural, healthy animal instincts. They assign a lot of shame to sex, infidelity, attraction, etc., when in reality these taboo topics just take on whatever meaning you ascribe to them.
I’m well aware that I’m not the only woman my partner has ever loved and I won’t be the last person he is ever attracted to. All I know is that a partner’s sexual desire for others is not a reflection of my own attractiveness, my worth, or their love for me. It’s taken a lot of unlearning for me to get to this point, but I actually feel that my rejection of traditional monogamy has been really stress-relieving. I’m not obsessing over a partner’s every move, worrying about whether they’re attracted to others (they always are, and to be fair, so am I), and all of that other worry-inducing drama.
How you want your relationship to operate is up for you to decide, and while it’s hard, I try to approach my own with an open mind. If my partner wants to act on anything, I’ve made it clear that I’m open to discussing various ways of being in a relationship as long as we approach it with honesty and clarity. It’s more important to me that he and I are supportive, loving, and respectful of each other than whether or not he has a completely natural reaction to sexual attraction. I care about honesty, openness, and trust. Right now for us that mostly means some form of monogamy, but maybe one day that won’t be the case. I’m not forcing myself to commit one way or another, because I know that circumstances always change and thus, so do minds.
What I know right now, though, is that I love Ale dearly and we want to be together, live together, and build our lives together. He is my favorite person. That’s that.
Do you experience imposter syndrome and if so, how do you deal with it?
I experience imposter syndrome just as much as the next person, especially when it comes to my work life. I often wonder Why me? What did I do to earn this? What makes me more qualified to be here than others? Ultimately, though, I’ve found that this thinking is largely unhelpful, and it’s gone away more with age. Ridding yourself of imposter syndrome is difficult, however, and it’s taken a lot of therapy and work experience for me to decrease my own. For me, it helps if I assess the facts of a situation before telling myself I don’t deserve to be where I am.
The “facts” in my life usually look something like this: I have a job! Of course I’m a professional adult who can make her own choices. I’ve worked a lot! My experience shows that I’m good at what I do, and I can tackle any work-related task put in front of me. I have two degrees! I’m smart, and I’ve proven so by being a double-major and a full-time athlete while in college. I’ve lived alone! I know how to clean my space, decorate, organize, and take care of myself. I’ve dated many people! I know what I want in a relationship, and I know what it’s like to be on my own. I’ve had lots of sex! The bedroom is a space of pleasure, and I know how to satisfy myself alone and during partnered intercourse. I go to therapy! I make an effort to know myself better and communicate with others to the best of my ability.
A little bit of this self-soothing language goes a long way (for me). Remind yourself of all you’ve accomplished because, by default of being alive, odds are you’ve done a lot—and it doesn’t need to be related to your ~professional life~.
When is the ‘hey howie’ merch dropping?
Soon, I guess. What do you guys want? Stickers? Sweatshirts? Beanies? Mugs? LMK in the comments. I feel like we could make this cute.
Other stuff I’ve thought about this week:
I love my sisters so much. Being with them has really lifted my spirits. Siblings are amazing. (And funny.)
I wrote an article about dating after sexual assault for Elite Daily. I talked to so many survivors and experts for this piece. If you need it, feel free to give it a read. I hope it helps!
The book The Light Of The World by Elizabeth Alexander. I finished it last night and it was such a beautiful read.
Pixar’s Soul. Talk about a tear-jerker. I cried a lot and felt better after watching it. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think.
Thank Goddess the holidays are over!!! We made it, folks.
And oh yeah, more on Marvel movies…
I have some work news!!! I’ll be sharing later this week. Stay tuned.