“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. 

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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. 

Fab Disaster – The Audio Version!

(Photo via Alexander Rose, taken while filming our web series IRL – one of the 11,000 projects I have going on rn bc I have no chill)

Happy hump day, losers! Oh c’mon, “losers” is one of my terms of endearment. Just ask the people who got a Christmas card from me in 2014.

I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I listen to tons of them, since I walk 6 or 7 miles a day on average and like to make the most of my time. One of these days I’ll make a list of my favorites so you can all check them out. 

For the past few years, I’ve had this dream of one day starting my own legit podcast, or in the meantime, just recording my stories so people can listen to them. As a start, I’ve recorded one of my old posts in a sort of “baby’s first pod” for ya’ll to listen to here! 

It’s a far cry from the “official” podcast I hope to develop someday, and there are lot of things I’ll do differently in the next recording (chill out, read more slowly, and edit some of the language of the post I’m reading…just to name a few). 

In any case, the story I recorded this week is from Fall 2012, an era full of memorable firsts like stripper auditions, body painting, absentee voting and eating deodorant. I think it turned out pretty good for my first shot. 

If you enjoy it, follow my brand new Soundcloud and look out for more in the near future. 

Enjoy the rest of your week! 

If you grew up in the ‘burbs, this Tumblr will speak to your soul

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Pic: McMansion Hell

People, I am beside myself.

As y’all know, I work in operations at a design studio. Usually the things my coworkers share on our #random Slack channel are technology related (and thus completely over my head) or super played out memes I’ve already seen during the 90% of my life that I spend on social media.

But when the glory that is McMansionHell.com hit the thread I was truly floored and given no choice but to share it with literally everyone I know. McMansions (n.) can best be described as the gaudy, humongous, oft cheaply constructed and illogically designed homes built around the turn of the millennium for the now defunct “Upper Middle Class” to feign opulence to their surrounding suburban neighbors. As the blog beautifully puts it, they are the “knockoff bags of architecture.”

When the bubble burst, many of these homes were either repossessed or put up for sale by their recession-hit owners. McMansion Hell is a blog that takes photos of the worst of these monstrosities from real estate websites like Zillow, and explains in perfect comedic tone the blatant architectural failures of each room in the home. The writer, Kate, is originally from North Carolina (right?) and really knows what she’s talking about, presumably in part because these thangs are ALL OVER THE FREAKIN’ PLACE in our home state.

As someone who lived in a McMansion for the whole of my teenage years–and returned for the holidays up until a few months ago when my combined family finally split up and flipped that thing to the highest bidder–this blog speaks to my deepest embarrassments and confusion about the world in which I came of age, and about the people who conceived of it.

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Pic: McMansion Hell

My mother and father divorced when I was 4, and if you count each of their respective residences, I lived in a total of 8 homes before graduating high school. Since each household was supported by a single-parent breadwinner, it’s safe to say that the first 7 of them were…comfortable. Even nice, in the way middle class subdivisions were in the 90s, before everything started dropping into foreclosure like flies. Not really boastful or flashy, but a nice, safe place for kids to grow up.

From ‘94 to ‘99, my mother, two of my brothers and I lived in a nice little neighborhood called Lake Moor in Garner, North Carolina. Garner wasn’t exactly a town known for its wealth per capita, but Lake Moor was one of the nicer spots in the area. It was the kind of place where, at least it seemed, you could let your kids roam around on bikes unsupervised, down the paved trails in the woods to throw rocks in Lake Benson, never giving it a second thought that they’d be kidnapped or hit by a truck. There was even a community pool with a vending machine that sold BRISK Iced Tea for $0.60 a can and playground that only left you with splinters 90% of the time. Luxury, indeed.  

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^See, fairly normal suburban whatever-house. There used to be a third tree in that patch but it fell during hurricane Fran. I remember because the next day when I was climbing on it a yellow jacket stung the back of my leg. But this isn’t about Fran this is about a house that I remember being much bigger than this! Turns out I was just smaller than I am now! Science is crazy.

My favorite thing as a child was to play pretend, specifically as a princess.  As many of you know, I still do this today and it can be very annoying. But as a kid, it was quite cute. I had a canopy bed and all white furniture with brass plated detailing typical of a 90s girl’s room. I’d tap around the foyer of our house in my shiny black Sunday shoes and polyester slips believing I was Cinderella or whomever I wanted to embody that day. My mother’s taste in furniture was grand and traditional, dark cherry woods that, when I slid the fingers of my white gloves across them, made me feel like Anastasia. Outside, I’d play with my dog in the overgrown cattails by the pond and talk to myself, like the tomboy alter ego of any fairy tale protagonist. But inside, I would put on a toy tiara and sneak into my mom’s china cabinet to play with her silver. We didn’t live in a McMansion just yet, but the details were there. The aspiration was there. To me, it always felt like pretend. And I guess it was supposed to. 

It’s normal for kids to idolize those who have more than they do. Adults, too. And to the untrained eye, bigger + crazier + vague references to lavishness of yore = wealth. On summer days, my brother Winston and I used to rollerblade down to the neighborhood’s one local McMansion, which at the time we just referred to as “The Mansion,” and we’d gawk at how official it looked. To us, it was basically the White House. Who lived there, we wondered? They must be famous! Remember, this house was in Garner, North Carolina. Probably not a half mile from our own. No…looking back, I don’t think anyone “famous” lived there. We were young.

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^McMansion AF, you guys! For some reason I remember there being a gate at the beginning of this driveway but that would be literally nuts, wouldn’t it? Also, please look at the mailbox. And that gigantic dormer. And the spacing of the windows. And the chimney! And the fact that there are TWO FUCKING FRONT DOORS! This is the house that I wanted to live in at age 7. As you can probably guess, there is nothing on either side of my family that qualifies as “old money.”

Not long after that, my mom remarried. Winston and I were sitting in the den of our between-houses rental home when our mom and stepfather-to-be showed us a mockup of the house they were having built. A house big enough for two of my mom’s kids and four of his and the two of them and the dog to all live together in the middle of Cary, North Carolina. It was…a certified McMansh. Or as I yelped excitedly upon seeing the drawings: “A MANSION???!” My mom shushed me, smirking. I mean it would be wrong to brag, of course. But clearly I was about the become the rich-bitch princess I had always deserved to be. I was ten years old.

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The house I lived in from age 10 to age 17

I can’t really sum up what it was like to live here because all my memories are biased due to a) the fact that the ages 10-17 are some of the most complicated and traumatizing years of your life EVEN when you have a traditional nuclear family and no mental illness and b) I most certainly did not have a traditional nuclear family or a sound emotional state. But we did have 6 bedrooms, a three-car garage, a trampoline in the back, a big deck, and a massive interior which was either full of strangers or completely empty, cold and echoing. My room was enormous by any standard, which was great for retreating from the world to journal and make collages and, in the later years, to do drugs. I didn’t drive until I was almost out of high school, and I spent up to that time annoyed I didn’t live downtown with the other cool kids in their smaller, historic bungalows that better fit my ~super indie hipster aesthetic~. Things were uneven here and there, and after a while, started falling apart.

But I do think it was beautiful, and my mom loved it. She adored it, honestly, at times as though it were one of her children. I think it was a symbol for her steadfast belief that we really could have the perfect life. That our family, even though it was a weirdo wonky mess most of the time, did all belong together under this big-ass roof. “If you build it, happiness will come,” you know? Or maybe it was a “the bigger the house, the closer to God,” sort of thing. I’m kidding.

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Some McMansion Hell-inspired art I made based on my own experience. Do u get it?

I do have some good memories of this place. The pantry, for one, which was roughly the size of my entire current apartment and always stocked with snacks; the way you could be on one end of the house hooking up with your teenage boyfriend and your parents couldn’t hear on account of being a half a mile away in their bedroom; the fact that my mom was queen of the castle, so when I was there, she was taking care of me. It was something comforting to return to when I was in college and living in houses that were quite literally falling to the ground. I hated the suburbs, sure, but I loved how you could see the stars in the sky, walk around in the middle of the night safely, jump a fence to a pool and the worst that would happen is a soccer mom would furrow her eyebrows at you through a glass-brick window.

And of course, once I moved to New York, our McMansion became my post-ironic luxury. Every time I would visit I’d take photos of myself in my mom’s spa-like bathroom, walk around in her terry cloth robe sipping champagne, bask in the sun in an adirondack chair and worry about absolutely nothing. That’s what the suburbs are good for – while they may not be an entirely accurate representation of your reality, if in fact you are in the market for a comfortable delusion, they are always there for you. At 23, living in a rat infested building and making $300 a week, I loved going home again to play pretend.

The house sold back in April when the Bradys came un-bunched. But I don’t miss it. It was too much, like a lot of things that were going on at the time. And now a new young family lives there and my mom lives in a lovely house not too far away. But looking at the photos of it, I have to say I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. On Google street view you can see our old cars in the driveway, and for a second it really got to me. I don’t miss the house really, or the neighborhood, or most of the family. I guess part of me just misses the safety of having a home base at all. Misses not knowing the truth: that you can’t go back to the past, that everything disappears eventually, that some things weren’t made to last in the first place.

ANYWAY, the blog is funny as shit, and I am basically in love with Kate and her taste level/depth of knowledge/dry-as-heck wit. Apparently we’re from the same place and all, so unless she’s like 75, we MUST have some mutual friends. If you know her, introduce me, so we can get married ironically on the steps of a McMansion.

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McMansionHell.com

 

 

 

Shout Out To Resilience —Just Some Thoughts From a Whiny New Yorker

It was a typical September night in New York, chilly-ish and humid as hell, and I was returning home around 11:30. I’d spent my evening making notes on a pilot, practicing improv and eating a large pile of greasy onion rings my body hardly even craved, let alone needed in the slightest. I was tired, and I had to get up in just a few hours for an early meeting at work.

I was already in NO MOOD to take bullshit from anyone. And then, not five feet from my doorway, a figure scurried quickly across my shoes and brushed against my bare ankles. That’s right. A rat. A rat touched my skin. Before I could realize what I was doing, I jumped in the air and yelped like a Looney Tune who’d be stuck with a hot poker. A parody of a Woman In New York.

Perhaps it was my exhaustion or the onion rings flaring up, but as I was washing the possible (likely) plague off my skin, all the drawbacks of the city started getting to me. For most of my time here, though it’s been stressful, I’ve shrugged off things like insane rents, rodent corpses and #commuterproblems as merely a price to pay for living in such an exciting place. I figured soon enough the stress would pay off and it would all be worth it. Typical transplant delusion.

Now I’m in year five, working a day job and several unpaid side hustles, sometimes wondering if the other shoe is ever going to drop. I know it will, I tell myself, if I just keep working hard and don’t quit. Eventually I’ll succeed, and get to be one of those happy New Yorkers (they exist, right?) who don’t have to run into a random man on their block holding a giant pet snake, or worry about getting crickets thrown on them on the D train. Maybe things like this and this will stop happening, and I won’t be so angry at this place and everyone in it. Maybe, in the meantime, I should stop reading Gothamist (but I can’t. I can’t stop.)

I know, I know. I complain about my life as a ~creative in NY~…but I’m aware I don’t have it that bad. I’m a white girl with a job, her own apartment, two cats and a few friends. I eat, like, 4 meals a day. And I have cable, for Christ’s sake! It’s not convenient, but no one is making me live here. I made a choice. Maybe it’ll pay off, maybe it won’t. The grass is always greener, ain’t it?

But I sure do love this place. I love the diversity, the skyline, the opportunity. The feeling that your life could change with the turn of a street corner. The people. Our spirit and resilience when we are targeted by terror and face that risk every day. The people.

I also love North Carolina, where I’m from. I love it in spite of Pat McCrory’s hateful ass and HB2 and the oh-so-many laws against queer rights and black rights and reproductive rights. In spite of the ignorance and anger and violence towards protestors in the wake of the murder of Keith Scott.

I have family there. I have friends there. I grew up there.

But injustice, well, that’s everywhere in this country. Even your so-called “blue state” is full of “blue lives” who will murder someone for being black. It’s really happening. And it’s happening over and over and over again. I count my privileges every day.

I stand in solidarity with black people in my home state and everywhere fighting for their right to live. I stand in solidarity with New York as we continue grinding in the face of the threat of violence toward our city.

I left North Carolina, and I may even leave New York someday. But both places are forever dear to my heart. I even think I love America, as hard as it is to do. It just has so much potential, you know? Like an absent father who keeps promising to show up. And I’ll keep coming out to the doorstep, hoping for things to turn around. It’s why I’m not writing in “Beyoncé” on the presidential ballot. That, and I’m not a fucking idiot.

I admire those who continue to show up, who aren’t just waiting but speaking out, sharing their influence, shouting in the streets and refusing to take shit from this broken system. I admire those who thrive on ambition, who will stop at nothing to achieve their dreams, even when it seems like the world is set up to make them fail. I also admire those who have failed, those who are tired, those who don’t know where they’re going or can’t take anymore. We are only human.

I respect you and I am here for you if you ever need.

To all my friends, everywhere, look out for one another and take care of yourselves.

FUCK POLITENESS. ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

Allow me to interrupt our regular programming (me starting great posts and not finishing them) to make a good old fashioned rant. 

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual harassment and assault are discussed in this post.

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Everyone knows about catcalling. Street harassment is basically “old news” at this point, which is a shame because even though it had quite a moment in the press in 2015, it remains a huge fucking problem. Every woman has likely experienced it at least one time in her life, and those of us in cities with high pedestrian traffic, well, it basically rains on you daily. 

I am an adult woman living in New York working full time and doing comedy. I live alone. I walk around alone. I take the subway alone late at night. Sometimes I follow those “rules” about being extra safe (don’t wear your headphones late at night!) and sometimes I don’t. I prefer to have my earbuds in most of the time because men yell disgusting things at me consistently throughout my commute that I could simply do without. It happens all the time, no matter what I’m wearing. That’s just what happens to us.

At the beginning of this summer, a date asked me if I felt nervous walking around Brooklyn in my skimpy clothing, like I was somehow increasing my chances of harassment or sexual assault. Like I would somehow be responsible, even in part, for a humiliating or possibly violent act committed against me. This person is a fucking idiot, and not so coincidentally, a cis gendered male who has clearly enjoyed the privileges of our systemically sexist, victim blaming culture his entire life. If you’re a reader of my blog, I bet you can guess how I responded. If you’re new to this kind of discussion, Google slut shaming and victim blaming to find out why those things are bogus mechanisms of the patriarchy. If you flat out disagree with me, you can just go away. I value my mental state too much to engage every misogynist turd who has no reason to leave the comfortable doodoo pile that is his ideology. 

I have harassment stories of all varieties! Workplace, school, Internet, street — you name it. I could literally start an entire new blog just on this topic and never run out of material, but I won’t do that bc it wouldn’t be fun to write. But I will say that it doesn’t just happen in the dark, spooky alley ways when you’re not paying attention and wearing a dress and your hair in an easy-to-grab ponytail. FUCK that. One of the weirdest, scariest experiences I’ve had with street harassment was earlier this year in broad fucking daylight, after being caught in a rainstorm with a big jacket and no makeup on: I was chased down the sidewalk by a loud, possibly intoxicated or unstable individual, who proceeded to grab me and yank me toward him until I screamed and ran away. Just your typical Sunday after brunch!

What REALLY fucking pisses me off is the catch 22 where if we ~overreact~ in a situation where we feel pressured, we’re made to feel guilty for not being polite. So, is it “women are paranoid” or “women are bringing this on ourselves?” WHICH IS IT??

I bet we have all been in a situation where we didn’t feel safe, where our instincts were telling us something wasn’t right, but we were worried about speaking up for fear of being wrong, for seeming rude unnecessarily. 

BUT HERE’S THE THING

WE ARE LITERALLY BEING SCREAMED AT AND FOLLOWED HOME BY STRANGE MEN ON A DAILY BASIS.

MEN ARE LITERALLY ASSAULTING US, RAPING US, AND THEYRE NOT EVEN BEING PUNISHED.

IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE FOR US TO FEEL UNSAFE. EVER.

I felt this stronger than ever yesterday at 7PM on the A train. I got on and noticed a young man staring at me and grinning wide, almost laughing. He was looking me up at down. I gave him a furious glare and turned the other way. I felt violated and gross, but, I’m sad to say, I was used to it. The man got up from his seat like he was about to exit the train, but then he stayed on, and he walked toward me. He pointed to the seat next to me (one of those perpindicular orange seats closer to the wall, on the older trains. I was sitting on the aisle side). There were several other seats available on the train, many with no other passengers next to them, and this man was requesting to sit next to me. 

“Don’t sit there,” I said. I could feel the other passengers looking at me. Or maybe they weren’t. Maybe I was worried I looked like a jerk. Worried I was having a bad day, possibly imagining things. The narrative of the patriarchy had poisoned me.

That’s when the man proceeded to step over my legs and squeeze himself into the corner seat next to me. Remember, there were open seats EVERYWHERE on this train. Immediately, I got up and stood by the door. At the next stop, at the last possible second so I wouldn’t be followed, I ran out, then ducked into the next car.

And even though I knew in my gut I had a reason to be scared and upset and to react the way I did, a part of me still worried maybe I had overeacted. Maybe I’d been wrong. Maybe I looked dramatic and stupid.

BUT WHO FUCKING CARES?!

Tonight I was listening to the true crime podcast My Favorite Murder, and they were reading survivor stories sent in by the listeners. I’m new to the podcast, but I love hearing about mysteries and how crimes are solved, so I’m enjoying it so far. One listener wrote in and told a story from her teen years where she was riding in a car with some strange guys she had a bad feeling about. She knew she’d made a mistake by getting in the car with them and insisted they drop her off immediately before making it to the second location –thankfully for her, they did drop her off. Because the two guys ended up later sexually assaulting a female in a nearby field and beating her beyond recognition. The listener felt it had been a close call for her, and cited it as the moment where she learned to trust her instincts and to FUCK being polite. 

I am NOT saying that had she not been brave enough to speak up, to get out of that car and out of that situation that any resulting trauma would have been her fault at all.

IF YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF HARRASSMENT OR ASSAULT IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT.

What I am advocating for, though, is women trusting themselves. The narrative of rape culture hypnotizes us and tells us we’re wrong, turns our own testimony as victims against us so often that of course it affects us. Of course it makes us question ourselves. But fuck that shit! We are our own last line of self defense, so when it comes to preserving our safety and our RIGHT to live without being violated and threatened, FUCK being polite. FUCK feeling guilty. FUCK that sweet, non-boat-rocking disposition they want us to have and look out for YOU, no questions asked. 

I advocate #RADICALSELFTRUST

Rambling about Rambling

mariah overthinking

You know what I kinda miss, just a little? I miss 2010 when I first started this blog as a Tumblr, posting for my 3 consistent readers about the dumb shit I did that past weekend. I don’t think I even promoted the posts. It was mostly a cathartic experience for me, where, after having a run-in with the cops, or hooking up with some now has-been/possibly never-was DJ on a tour bus, I’d work through the anxiety of my hangover by turning all the stupid things I did into jokes. If I had embarrassed myself, I figured people would talk about it. So I wanted to be the first one to get the story out, in my own words.

Looking back, I must have known that no one was really going to talk shit about the time I drank so much I peed on Alex’s borrowed couch, or the time I got yelled at by my boss at the diner for showing up to work with whiskey breath. We were all garbage in college. Every person worth a damn, at least at my university, was deeply tormented during those years, making mistakes like it was their job and underachieving their potential. Probably had something to do with the cocktail of post-adolescent malaise plus a newfound freedom mixed with the giant QUESTION MARK a good liberal arts education will cause you to place on society. It was hard to believe in anything except how fabulous we’d be in the future, and how fun the next party would be.

So if I was making fun of myself to silence any critics, the only critic I can think of is me. Forget the collective critic of the Normal Majority–they didn’t know who I was to begin with. It was all in my head. “You fucked up again. You slept too late again. You’re hungover again. You acted a fool. You’re not taking care of your mental or physical health. But if you’re going to have fun, you might as well back yourself up.” So I did, and it always made me feel better. Plus, it was fun. And then a few people, just a few, started paying attention. So I kept doing it because I like entertaining people. But over time I started to think more about who was reading, which made me overthink what I would put out there. I wanted my stuff to be a little more polished, shareable, all the annoying things they tell you your content should be if you want to get people to notice you.

That mindset, of course, got me just the opposite. Now I’m overthinking it. I’m not just opening my computer and letting it flow like I did back then. Okay, part of that might have to do with the fact that I don’t really party anymore, that my laptop is as old as this blog, or that I have a full-time job and “several other projects.” But the biggest factor that keeps me from writing is pressure. Pressure to have 3,000 words every time I sit down. Or shit, even know what the fuck I’m going to say when I sit down. I have posts that I outlined and worked on over the course of weeks, only to end up publishing them well after the event they were referring to. Not a total waste of time, no, but if I’d chilled out a little bit I could have so much more fun.

I always say I don’t have enough time, and yeah, I work hard. I’m doing a lot of things. But I want to get back in that mindset of freely telling stories, not thinking about the outcome, just messing around. That’s what the writing was supposed to be for in the first place. I just need to get out of my own way.

I don’t miss being a hot-ass mess, but I do miss not giving a fuck.