I Am Trying To Become A Person Who Does Yoga Now

yoga

I Am Trying To Be a Person Who Does Yoga Now

Last Wednesday at work, after guzzling some boxed coffee at a mandatory HR seminar, I took a bathroom break. While wiping my ass, I felt a familiar shock across my upper back and through my neck. I had pulled my back again.

Every movement above the waist became excruciating. I was miserable, but sadly, not surprised. This has happened to me every couple of months for the past year. Constant pain behind my shoulders. Cracking along my neck every time I take a deep breath. At least 30 minutes of pure discomfort when I wake up in the morning. And that’s just on a regular day. Then, when I least expect it—snap. Waddling around for 5 days and screaming and whining and cursing at Kos and Gon for not cleaning out their own litter box.

I cannot. Live. Like this. Anyfuckinmore.

So let’s break this down.

What’s causing it:

What isn’t? I live in New York, a city that would cease to exist without constant anger and anxiety. I am naturally prone to stress and hold all this physical tension in my shoulders. I drink 2-3 black coffees per day. I sleep on the World’s Shittiest Mattress that I bought from IKEA in 2012 for like $100 when I moved to the city for an unpaid internship. For 9 hours a day, I do accounting, human resources, office management and executive assistance for a design firm in lower Manhattan. When I’m not doing that (and sometimes when I am) I do improv and standup, write and produce comedy videos and live shows, work on my screenplay, work my beauty blog, and work on my forthcoming book from Lit Riot Press. Sometimes, I try to blog here.

This leaves very little time for relaxing and/or taking care of myself. The majority of the social events I attend are events I’m producing or performing in. I get about 7 hours of sleep a night (very interrupted, thanks kitters). This is disgusting, but I often will not shower for days at a time because I’m only home for the time it takes to get just enough sleep that I don’t have a meltdown the next day. I usually wake up late, miss my train by 30 seconds and have to push into the next one where I ride to work in a Tuna Can of Stress and arrive about 7 minutes late. And despite being busy 24/7 and completely overwhelmed by my own schedule, I still have almost no disposable income to speak of.

I am not even going to mention. The news.

ANyWAY YeAH I GOT TENSION.

What I can do about it:

Around this time last year I threw my neck out the worst I ever had. I had to miss two days of work, which was really frustrating and also annoying af because being alone is super unhelpful when you CAN’T FUCKING MOVE. So I went to get acupuncture. I saw this guy named Bart who was extremely chill, like to a disturbing degree, and he told me to stop drinking so much coffee and also to wear a scarf on the subway? Something about the air conditioning making your neck muscles tighten up? IDK. I had two appointments and they were in this open room where other people were also getting, um, punctured. Both times I ended up falling asleep and feeling very relaxed, and slightly better right after. I was supposed to keep coming back over the next few weeks, but even at a sliding-scale donation of $30 per visit I felt it was maybe not quite worth it for me at the time.

When I still couldn’t move after two acupuncture visits, I went to the urgent care. The doctor described what was happening to my shoulder as an injury, and he prescribed me muscle relaxers. I took them, and they helped me sleep through the pain and made me very dumb, but did not solve the problem.

What did? Waiting. And actually, not drinking coffee really helped. I went 3 months without it and I didn’t have back pain (or diarrhea, for that matter) once the entire time. I wasn’t as productive and energetic which was actually fine, until I flew to LA to shoot a web pilot called IRL that I co-wrote and co-starred in, and realized I simply cannot live this crazy life I lead without caffeine.

When it happened again a few days ago, I went to see a chiropractor. She cracked my back and neck in several places which was incredibly startling and moderately relieving. She told me my spine had probably been out of alignment since childhood and it was finally catching up to me (sounds like mumbo jumbo but ok.) She also told me I needed to start taking better care of myself and that I was too young to be in this much pain. I agreed with her. She made me assure her I would get a new mattress. I came back a few days later for another appointment and, again, the cracking noises were cool and all, but I didn’t really feel that much different afterwards.

I’ve tried meditation. I’ve tried massages. But I never put in enough time or money for it to make a difference.

Do I believe that these are all reasonable treatments for the strain and tension I was experiencing? Sure. But I don’t want to only treat my back when it gets fucked up and just be in a moderate amount of pain the rest of the time.

So, I got a membership to a yoga studio. Because I want to try out being one of those women who invests in feeling good, mentally and physically. A Bona Fide Yoga Lady. Seriously, imagine being a woman who wakes up in the morning feeling youthful and limber and physically capable of putting on her jeans without wincing in pain or cussing somebody out.  

And don’t forget the sense of superiority that comes with it! I cannot wait to be one of those women who carries around a mat and says “sorry guys, can’t come to happy hour. I have yoga,” then swishes away sassily tossing my ponytail. Damn, I am gonna be so motherfucking centered.  

There is something that feels both responsible and glamorous about prioritizing your health in a performative way. Even though it is so very Common Privileged Girl, I am beyond thrilled at the idea of spending my Sunday mornings in Fancy Brooklyn doing downward dog and drinking tea like I belong there. And getting brunch afterward in my leggings and Birkenstocks. And buying scented candles and, like, special water bottles that you actually want to drink out of because they look really cool. It’s ok. I’ll pursue this with some self awareness and won’t let it get out of hand (seriously, exercise freaks, stop telling people that “runner’s high” cures depression.) 

I think by being a mess for so long I’ve become attracted to wholesomeness in a way that is almost perverse. I am desperate for a lifestyle that is based, whatsoever, in simplicity. Even if it’s superficial (and actually very expensive!!! help me!!!!!!!)

See, this has been my plan all along. Pretend to have my shit together, and then maybe eventually I will.

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#WHOLE30 WEEK 2: JUST CHECKIN IN


It’s day 11 on my Whole 30 journey, and first things first: I’m ok! It’s not too bad. Yes, I’ve had a few dozen moments where I wanted to bury my feelings about the state of the world and the weather in a mountain of that really cheesy melty delicious mac n cheese mush they sell at the Gourmet Garage hot bar BUT I’ve persevered, and have yet to veer off course. 

Just a reminder that this means I have not had added sugar, diary, legumes, grains or alcohol of any kind in 11 days. 

Am I hungry? Lil bit. But my stomach is getting used to eating real food and knowing when I’ve had enough. Did I go through a fatigue stage? Yeah, around day 8. But my body is adjusting to burning protein and fat now instead of carbs n sugars and I feel more clear-minded and upbeat, with no afternoon slump. Have I stopped freaking out when my coworkers bring in donuts and leave them on the edge of my desk, or order themselves personal pizzas to eat in front of me? No. And I will not. That is rude. Please stop.

Some discoveries from this past week: 

-Whole Foods is one of the only places you can count on finding a Whole 30 meal on the go, and even then many of the hot bar meats and veggies are cooked with sugar or honey, so you’ll likely end up with a box of roasted chicken and steamed zucchini that runs you about $17.

-The macha at Starbucks has sugar in it, but it doesn’t even matter anyway bc even if you order a non-dairy macha latte, it’s tough to verify whether the brands of almond or coconut milk they’re using are unsweetened/naturally sweetened, and whether or not they have carageenan in them (carageenan is an additive used as a thickening agent found in a TON of foods and beverages that is not digestible and harmful to the digestive system). So I didn’t order the macha latte. The conversation I had to have with the Starbucks barista to come to this conclusion was the single most White Lady thing I’ve ever done. 

-When you eat beets they not only turn your poop red, which I knew, but your pee red too!

-Bone broth, as in nutrient-rich broth made using the bones from a healthy, humanely raised animal, is kind of hard to make without a slow cooker. I left mine on the stove overnight, and my gas burner was so hot it steamed out all the water and left me with a pot of ash. 


Eternally thankful this didn’t catch on fire while I was sleeping…Jesus fucking Christ.

So what have I been eating? A LOT of vegetables and a little bit of meat. I’ve been going apeshit over coconut covered dates, tuna, avocados, and plantain chips, which are better than regular chips!!! I know, just shoot me in the face!!!! 

Yesterday as a snack I had fucking cucumber slices with salt on them and loved it, which sent me into a full-on identity spiral. I recalled my first summer in New York when I interned at a fashion magazine and how I used to make fun of the girls who ate veggie slices for lunch. I was strictly a Five Dollar Footlong Bitch then. An Italian Herbs and Cheese Hoe. Now I’m eatin’ seaweed snacks and getting full before the pack is through. Whom have I become!?! Am I some Park Slope Food Bloggin’ Green Juice Drinkin’ Yoga Posin’ Instagram Mom Lady????? 

Whatever, y’all. You’re just mad because I’m losing weight and getting healthier and vocally judging you for the monosodium glutamate that’s totally in those martini olives you’re eating and I bet you didn’t even know!!!!!!

I am still cool, ok? YOU CAN EAT CLEAN AND STILL BE COOL.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DISASTER DECIDES TO KICK SOME ORGANIC GRAIN FREE DAIRY FREE SUGAR FREE LEGUME FREE ASS


Yep, I’ve done it. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon with housewives and wellness gurus and all types of white women and gays everywhere: I am doing #Whole30.
No, it’s not ironic! This is real. This is me. I am pursuing #mindfulness through #food in a #meaningful way because my mental and physical health are a teeter-totter and I need to grab life by the BALLS* and get my shit together.

*grass fed meatballs in a homemade marinara sauce over a cauliflower purée 

So basically #Whole30 is a diet that’s supposed to help you reset your system, jumpstart your metabolism, form good habits and figure out why you feel like shit all the time by omitting grains, legumes, dairy, added sugars, alcohol and pretty much all processed foods from your diet for 30 days. 

I am on Day 4. So far this is child’s play. In about 2 weeks I’m sure I’ll be bursting into tears every time I walk by a Popeye’s but for now, I feel great. Ok, maybe not great, just like, fine. 

Observations thus far:

-Salt is the most important food ingredient there is. A vegetable without salt is a thing you should get away from me.

-Nuts are filling but, depending on the kind, they either taste like crayons or little pieces of wood. 

-Raisins: not so bad 

-EVERYTHING seems to have added sugar, even stuff that doesn’t need sugar. I tried to buy sausage at the grocery store yesterday and it had fucking corn syrup in it. Reading ingredients can be truly eye opening.

-Ghee aka clarified butter is my shit. I don’t know how they make it or why it’s ok to eat on #whole30 or why it costs $14 a jar, but it’s delicious. 

-Most of the things I truly love eating are actually good for you, I just usually buy trash food because it’s cheap. For example, olives are a way more delicious snack than potato chips hands down. I’ll have 4 olives and be like *kisses fingers in an Italian way that’s probably offensive to actually do idk*

Now, my resolve hasn’t really been put to the test, so I’m not on a high horse or anything. I haven’t yet experienced a weekend, which is usually when I eat 10 burritos and a block of cheese, so that’ll probably feel less fun. As far as the not drinking thing goes, well, you know how much I love alcohol. And I still do. We’d just been spending so much time together and it was getting a little bit too serious so it’s good to take a break. Because then we can miss each other. And have makeup sex. What was I talking about again? 

Anyway, I’m entertaining this philosophy that consuming food and drink should be pleasurable before, during and AFTER the experience, and trying to find pride and power in how I treat my body. 

Doesn’t that sound so good? Aren’t you totally rooting for me? Isn’t it weird that in this very blog if you go back 4 years you’ll find a post where I take acid and eat an entire bag of Martin’s Potato Rolls? Life can be so unpredictable.

#Whole30 #Whole30 #Whole30

Day 4. Or 5. Don’t tell me I’ve lost count already…

I am exhausted. I have a horrible cold today and I stayed home sick, but have of course been doing plenty of work, while updating Beauty Dummy’s social media (did you hear about my new blog with Hannah Faulkner?!) and browsing Twitter for the latest fucked up shit Trump and his demons have enacted. Let’s just say I don’t feel powerful. 

I marched on Saturday in New York and while there was an amazing turn out all over the world I couldn’t help but think of the folks the protest largely ignored: women of color, black lives, trans lives… And then I thought about how the whole protest would probably just be ignored by those in power. It’s not enough. 

Lately it’s felt like the whole world is shouting into the void. 

Another thing that’s bothering me is that underneath all my external fears I am still worried, as always, about my own self worth, my own happiness, and my own success. On bad days it can feel like my doubt is ping-ponging, one moment aimed at myself, and the next at everything around me, the world, the future, the powers that be.

At times I honestly feel like getting out of bed in the morning is my one-woman show. Written by me, performed by me, rehearsed for years. Just not that funny.

But I am motivated. I’m overwhelmed by my own ambition. There’s so much I want to do, and there’s so much I am doing, but it isn’t done, and it isn’t moving fast enough, and I’m afraid I’m not working hard enough, or that I’m working too hard.

But then I think, what a luxury to get to be ambitious. What a privilege to have any opportunities at all. I should be grateful to be a runner in this race, and not in the one for survival. 

So what do we do then? How do we come together and fight and still have energy to devote ourselves to ourselves and our dreams? I don’t know. 

Maybe I just need a coffee. And a DayQuil, and a hot bath, and a different president, and some soup, and my mom’s HBO Go password, and for the world to change, and 12 more hours in each day. I’m gonna go get some of these things and think about this, and I’ll be in touch. 

In the meantime if it could fucking stop raining that’d be great. 

“Inauguration Day,” if that even IS her real name

Ok. So it’s officially Inaug Day. Which means I haven’t woken up in a hospital bed to a nurse fanning me and my mother saying “Honey, it’s me, Mom. You hit your head in excitement on the ballot box after casting your vote for the first woman president who is now the president and you’ve been in a coma this whole time probably dreaming about some pretty terrible stuff.” 

You know when something really bad happens and you can’t get past the fact that it was so easily avoidable, so you just keep replaying the moment over in over in your head believing you personally can invent time travel if you just feel horrible enough about it? 

See: idk, the 260 self-inflicted traumas I’ve experienced in the past ten years?

So I guess in the back of my mind that’s what I’ve been doing. Turns out it doesn’t work tho! Especially not now. This wasn’t even our choice. Lack of consent defines this whole hellish experience from top to bottom. 

But if I’m trying to pin down how I feel at this very moment, well, I’m conflicted.

I feel tired, enraged, bitter, exhausted, annoyed about this. Kinda defeated by this. BUT, I also feel motivated, empowered, inspired by peers, by other women, by my LGBTQ family, by people of color, by all who withstand adversities I’ll never know. I feel solidarity. I do. Even though I haven’t been mentally able to totally face it, to engage every day, I feel a connection. I feel strength and somewhere deep down I fucking feel positivity. 

Y’all are doing some fucking amazing work. Every day that I log onto this god forsaken internet that I love so much, I see folks mobilizing, creating and coming together for the better. Making what needs to be made. Shouting what needs to be said. Putting yourselves and your hearts and your lives on the line to stand up for what you know is right and holy SHIT y’all! That’s what this life shit is about! 

Pat yourself on the back. Take a bath. Smoke a bowl. Eat some cheese. Treat yo self tonight. Please. You deserve it.

I have chosen to look at the blessing that in whatever small way, for whatever it’s worth, this is bringing us closer together.

This may not be the world I wanted to live in, but these are the people I wanted to be with. 

BREAKING: Girl Accepts Her New Year’s Resolutions Are Unrealistic, Takes Nap

Picture this: Your goal is to write for at least an hour a day. Watch 2 movies a week, read 2 books a month, exercise and meditate every day, eat healthy and organic. Then you go out one measly lil night for drinks and the next day you’re not feeling 100%. You miss your workout and avoid the brainstorming session on your calendar. Hey wait, don’t you have a deadline? Probably should have worked on that piece last night instead of chugging martinis with your coworkers like a lunatic. Omg and it’s snowing now?! That technically doesn’t even affect any of the things on your to-do list for the day, but just seeing it makes you tired. Paralyzed, actually. Your stack of unread books is staring at you from the center of the coffee table, but Twitter, at this moment, is the greatest thing you’ve ever read. Your cat is cuddling you. Omg now the other one is coming to cuddle. Wow this is amazing you’re literally a cat sandwich right now. They love you so much. You scroll through memes for 3.5 hours while laying in your cat sandwich. Maybe you’ll make a few. Seems like a pretty good use of time even though you have actual work to do. You get hungry, and your fridge is full, but the idea of eating a salad rn honestly makes you want to want to throw up and die. You order Seamless from No. 1 Chinese Kitchen for the third time this week. You get a low balance alert email from Bank of America and decide, as well as say out loud, that they can suck your nuts. When the dumplings arrive, you eat them while watching a tv show you’ve seen about 6,000 times while barely even paying attention bc you’re reading stuff on your phone. You finish your food. The show ends. Now that you are satiated you’re able to see the world around you for what it is: a mess. You decide to avoid it all and go back to bed where you belong. You accidentally sleep until the next day.

Repeat.

I am ambitious, and I love myself. I know these things to be true. That said, I have a bad habit of overloading my plate with too many expectations. And with too many balls in the air (lol) I inevitably drop one from time to time. Instead of charging forward and catching up, though, I overreact so much about the mistake I’ve made or the delay in my schedule or how behind I am on my goal, that I start to make excuses and hide from my own ambition. 

This is not to say that I never accomplish anything. 2016 was one of my most productive and rewarding years ever. But — and this has been true for as long as I can remember — my productivity style is usually to obsess and cram, after lots of procrastination up top, leading me to compromise on other things like social life, keeping my budget on track, eating right and taking care of my body. I end up accomplishing some of my goals but not others. And the others are usually really important things that, you know, keep me healthy and alive.

So I guess the big question is, how can I learn to honor the small milestones in order to serve the big picture? 

Plenty of us do this with exercising and eating right. The “I’ll start tomorrow” and “cheat-days-turned-cheat-life” phenomenons, while clichés, are all too common. I’m going through this right now. But I’ve succeed before! I was a vegetarian for four years and have had whole seasons where I worked out five times a week. And then it fades. And then it starts back up again. 

I don’t want to give up on myself this year, in any regard. If I don’t make my goals, I at least want to consistently try.

So I guess another question is, how do we stay motivated when we fall behind? 

Maybe the key is to not overload ourselves in the first place. To put a high premium on that self-care time and alone time, and to above all get enough sleep. Maybe we all should work on being less judgmental of ourselves. Maybe if we did that, our goals themselves might even change. 

Look, I don’t have the answers. As I write this I’m in my bed with all the lights off at 8pm on a Sunday after taking a two-hour nap. I need to swiffer the floors, make some dinner, take a bath, write a sketch and make an outline for a meeting before I go to sleep for the night. Could I have done all this yesterday? You bet your beautiful ass I coulda. 

I’m writing all this to remind myself, and you (but mostly myself bc I am working on ME. Jk you matter, too) that we’re in this together. Things may be fucked right now but I still think we can make a difference. First in our own lives, and then…THE WORLD. No seriously just watch I’m gonna change the world. Not alone or anything but I mean that is the plan. Eventually. Starting now. Wait…..*takes huge bite of weird knock-off-lil Debbie cream filled chocolate thing*…..starting now.

We got this, 2017. Congratulations in advance. 

HALLOWEEN HORROR: TRUE CRIME EDITION 

HALLOWEEN HORROR: TRUE CRIME EDITION 

Content warning: this post discusses murder, sexual assault and other violent crimes that may be disturbing or triggering to some. 

Listen up, noobs! While you’re busy watching Night of the Living Nightmare of the Lambs again this Halloween, you’re missing out on the real scary shit. I’m talkin about the stuff that gives me horrible, realistic nightmares about being kidnapped and murdered on an almost nightly basis and the reason I’m paranoid about living alone….say it with me—TRUE CRIME.

That’s right. The subgenre of documentary film and tv dedicated to kidnappings, murders, cults, and all the other fucked up shit that humans are capable of. But wait! If this stuff gives me nightmares, then why do I love it? Well, first of all, the nightmares can’t be blamed on true crime entirely—I’m sure the massive dog piles of food I eat at 11pm every night have something to do with that. Aside from that, I’m not really sure! But I figure it can be attributed to a few factors:

-I love solving mysteries. I dig logic puzzles, riddles and other trickery that require me to put pieces together in a productive way to find a solution. This is also why I make a great leader in an office setting and deserve a raise.

-Violent criminals scare me and I like to see them get caught. I am not a violent person. The only time I’ve ever really hit someone was when I headbutted a friend in the face during a really bad acid trip/drinking binge combo five years ago and I wanted to kill myself afterward. People who hurt other people fucking suck and I like to see that shit handled. 

-Violent criminals fascinate me because they are so wildly irrational and in addition to being an armchair investigator and armchair forensic scientist, I am also an armchair psychiatrist. One of my favorite pastimes is watching crime documentaries and guessing which personality disorders the perp is afflicted by. I have so many skills and I’m fun to hang out with. 

-I find it cathartic to externalize my anxieties about death, injury, loneliness, the dark and other people in general by observing my worst nightmares. It also puts my stupid, nonsense worries in perspective by reminding me that I’m living in an ocean of psychopaths so it might not be the worst thing in the WORLD that no one laughed at my joke earlier. 

-The justice system can’t be trusted either and I want to stay woke. A lot of the time these are stories where initial investigation was handled poorly, tainted or deeply biased in some way. And that’s not even mentioning the docs that surround a case where a specific person was unfairly targeted or even framed with no honor of presumed innocence to begin with.

Yes, true crime is ethically slippery. Some argue that it makes a spectacle of the victim and what happened to them. I can’t completely disagree with that. I do think, for what it’s worth, that most true crime fans watch out of concern, fascination and the desire to be in-the-know, and not as just superficial entertainment. Does that make it ok? I don’t know man I just live here!

For those who do choose to watch, I encourage you to think critically about the biases not only in the storytelling but also in the case itself. I never take a documentary’s conclusion at face value, and I don’t think you should either. No one ever knows for sure what really happened, and no one is qualified to make that decision except the jury. And even they get it wrong sometimes. So I’m just saying, maybe don’t start a Burke Ramsey Did It blog or become BFFs with Amanda Knox just because you saw some TV show. That’s all I’m saying! 

But by all means, watch the hell out of that shit. 

Anyway, without further ado…

ALL THE BEST TRUE CRIME I CAN THINK OF IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER 

Forensic Files


Aka the longest running true crime series of all time! At least they used to say that. I don’t know if it’s still true. I have seen almost every episode of Forensic Files. Peter Thomas the God narrates as experts in ballistics, DNA, blood spatter, and pretty much anything you can think of track down an obviously STUPID person who committed a heinous crime and left evidence behind. Because of the science, I feel confident they usually catch the right person, and that helps me sleep at night. The reenactments can be really fuckin bad but who doesn’t love that?

Making a Murderer


Almost every millennial alive has to have seen this by now, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. The Netflix original series follows the case against Steven Avery for the murder of Teresa Halbach, all the holes in the prosecutors’ argument and the fucked up police work of the Manitowoc County cops, and how that may have led to one (or more!) wrongful convictions. This documentary sheds light on the rampant abuse of power in our justice system and how folks of low income and poor education are disadvantaged and manipulated. Side note: What happened to Steven Avery happens to people of color every day so maybe Netflix can make a doc about that next #blacklivesmatter

The Jinx


Robert Durst! Now there’s a character for ya. Basically this series is about a (possible mentally ill) super super rich dude who may have killed his wife and two other people (or was it 3?) in the wild ride that’s been his life. This series is the flip side of Making a Murderer: when you’re rich, no matter how guilty, your lawyers can work all KINDS of magic. This show is riveting as hell and also happens to have one of the greatest television endings of…all time, probably. 

Cropsey


Legend has it a child killer named CROPSEY lived in the woods somewhere in New York and would take kids who were bad….it was essentially just boogeyman lore, but these documentarians wanted to see if it held any truth in its origins. In their investigation, they come across the story of Andre Rand, a convicted kidnapper. There’s a lot of fucked up details in this doc, the worst of which in my opinion is the archival footage of the deplorable mental asylum at which Rand was a patient. You remember in American Horror Story season 2 when Sara Paulson’s character tries to film an exposé of the conditions at Briarcliff? This footage is so much like that I believe they based the AHS storyline on it. I actually recommend fast forwarding through that part.

Killer Legends


When you’re done with Cropsey you can hop on this one by the same director. It tells the true stories that inspired famous urban legends. “The Hookman,” “The Candy Man,” “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs,” and “The Killer Clown.” Recognize any of these? This Halloween, the story of “The Candy Man” is especially relevant since, as you’ll find out, the urban legend of the poisoned Halloween candy went a little different IRL than we were told…

OJ Made in America


This colossal five-part 30 for 30 special has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And that’s because it’s got EVERYTHING. Not only is it chock full of the drama, gore and media frenzy the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman are infamous for, but it goes above and beyond to tell the story of OJ Before The Murders–a man my generation never really knew. It also explores in depth the social climate both nationally and in LA from when OJ was born all the way to the 90s, and how being black shaped, or didn’t shape, his identity as a celebrity. This context for the crimes is essential to put into perspective the divisive national reaction to the tragedies. I’m still in the middle of this one, but I can’t wait to finish it. (Note: This documentary contains disturbing crime scene photos and video footage of police brutality. All the docs on this list contain graphic images to a degree, but I felt the need to mention this one specifically because I was extra affected by it.)

30 for 30: The Price of Gold 


This one isn’t a murder, but it’s one of my favorite stories ever: Tonya Harding vs Nancy Kerrigan. This crime is pretty famous, so I think you know how it goes. But what I love about this documentary is its insight into Tonya’s childhood struggles, her abusive mom, the cycle of abuse that continued into her adult life, and the role it played in the crime itself. Y’all, I just love figure skating. The outfits are so good. And skaters are so god damn graceful. So you can imagine why the world couldn’t help but gawk when an ice princess basically turned into a mob boss before their eyes. Fascinating. Just fascinating. Oh, and just a reminder, this happened TWO WEEKS after the OJ murders. Which I’m pretty sure was the same month I fell and scraped my knee in the parking lot of my family’s town house. And I like, have a scar from that. The summer of ’94 was so crazy!

Team Foxcatcher


You tired of delusional athletes yet? No? Great! This one is about John du Pont, just your average kajillionnaire with a few mental illnesses. He was so obsessed with wrestling and other olympic sports that he decided to open a training center/compound dedicated to athletic training. Was he actually an athlete? Nope not really. He was just a rich guy with delusions of grandeur. Delusions that ended up driving him to…you guessed it…a murder. Of husband, father and actual athlete Dave Shultz. It’s a sad story that serves as a reminder that rich charming people are scary and can’t be trusted. At least that’s what I gathered from it. 

Crimes of the Century


The DC snipers, the Unabomber, Waco, Oklahoma City and more…this miniseries takes you back in time to the crimes that rocked the 20th Century. I was either not alive or in single digits when all of the occurred so it was good to get the details. These don’t follow the typical true crime model of the Sneaky Scary Mystery You’ve Never Heard Of. They’re more the Giant Crisis Covered Ceaselessly by the Media variety. Everyone should know about them, so worth a watch. 

Crazy Love


If you’re considering being in a relationship, this documentary will change your mind! It’s about a woman whose psycho boyfriend hired men to throw lye in her face when she least expected it, causing permanent scarring and blindness. Why would he do such a thing? Well, she didn’t want to be with him anymore. What was he supposed to do, just move on with his life like a normal person and not disfigure this poor woman? C’mon. The twist, of course, is that the two get back together. How, why, and the circumstances of which I will let you find out on your own. 

Amanda Knox


This documentary, released on Netflix last month, is more about the media sensationalism and unfair trial that led to Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollicito’s stints in Italian prison than it is about about the murder of Meredith Kercher. Maybe you remember this case – I was a freshman in college at the time when Amanda and Meredith, also in college, were studying abroad in Perugia, Italy. When Meredith was murdered, all fingers pointed to Amanda as the killer. But why? Well, there were a lot of factors at play. An obsessed DA, shoddy police investigation, and some seriously irresponsible journalism…just to name a few. The documentary lets Amanda tell her story, from the time of the murder through her trial, jail time, acquittal, retrial and appeal, and shows just how terrifying and helpless it feels to be presumed guilty by the entire world. Was she completely innocent of any and all crimes relating to the murder of Meredith Kercher? I mean, who’s to say?! Like Making a Murderer, this documentary seems to be less about proving someone’s total innocence than it is about the fairness of the case, so don’t get too carried away. I will say, it sure is a lot scarier of a story if she didn’t do it. Because then it could happen to any of us.  

The Case of JonBenet Ramsey


The JonBenet case is one of the most famous cold cases certainly of my lifetime, but possibly of ALL time. You must remember her pretty face plastered on the cover of every National Enquirer in the late 90s and beyond, but if you don’t know what happened, 6 year old JonBenet was murdered under some seriously suspicious circumstances on the day after Christmas in 1996, and it really, really looked like the parents were involved. But they were never charged, and the case was never solved. By the end of Part 1 of this two-part CBS documentary, it’s clear who the producers believe is the murderer, and their argument is pretty convincing. Do I believe this documentary is the highest form of journalism? No. While it features no shortage of expert criminologists, it’s so heavily produced and often corny that at times I was embarrassed for the hosts. Aside from the wacky bullshit factor, this is still the best documentary I’ve seen on the case. This is one of the most interesting murders I know of, and I really want it to be solved. But after watching this, that feels like kind of a longshot. 

The Imposter


This is far and away one of my favorite true crime documentaries. The story is so crazy I don’t even want to tell you what happens. Without saying too much, a Texas family’s son goes missing, and years later he returns…but is it really him? This doc will give you chills at what people’s brains are capable of, and leave you speculating HARD on what really happened to poor Nicholas Barclay in 1994. I know I have a theory. Share yours with me when you’re done. 

If you’re not already too freaked out, you should have your Halloween weekend fully planned by now. Just add Chinese food, keep wikipedia open on your phone, and prepare to solve some freakin’ crimes. But beware, the true crime obsession is a slippery slope. And you may never sleep again.