10 Little Decisions That Changed My Life in 2014

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December: a time for self reflection

A wise person once said, “You should only take advice from someone who has made plenty of mistakes.” Actually, I just made that up. But it sounds right, doesn’t it?

One weekend in November my dad came to town and I got to spend some much needed time reconnecting with him and with my brother, who, interestingly in its own right, had just returned from touring with Macy Gray. We mostly did a lot of talking – about art, about music, comedy, parenthood, love, work, and following our dreams. My father, who turned 66 in July, has certainly led a life not lacking in transformations. I feel like every time we see one another he’s reinventing himself in some way. It’s a comforting reminder that we’re not bound, at any age, to our bad habits, or to things that are familiar.

Most of us spend this last month of 2014 contemplating our own change. Our dissatisfaction flirts with our ambition and the result is a list of “do-betters” that we may or may not keep in mind for more than a day. Most of the time our desired transformations are too grand to distill down to a simple resolution we can actually keep. I’ve found it helps to start with the details, the things we can actually change, and then work backwards.

Because the hardest things for me lately have been the little things, I wanted to share some small changes I made in my daily life this year that brought me just a few steps closer to sanity. Even if they can’t fix any of your real problems, maybe they’ll help you along the way.

1. Buying a Professional Hair Dryer
Beauty isn’t everything. I think we can all agree on that. But I decided if I’m going to care at all about the way I look then I’m going to invest in it. Since I’ve been cursed (just kidding!) with having a lot of hairdresser friends, I never hear the end of their hair-related advice. I don’t trust everyone, but I do trust my bestie-in-law Hannah who basically forced me to drop my secondhand blow dryer and pick up a legitimate one. I have the Rusk CTC 7500 which costs about $100. It’s cut down my styling time substantially, and thus the amount of time I spend sitting in front of the mirror every morning hating my hair and willing it to speed-grow. Note: Rusk is not paying me to endorse their products, I’m doing it out of the kindness of my heart. I’ve been trying to get Hannah to start a beauty blog so she can recommend all her favorite things. Everybody should post on her Facebook and convince her to do it. She’ll get more free products than she’ll know what to do with, and then maybe she’ll give some to me!

2. Making a Bedroom Embargo
You can always tell how I’m doing psychologically by what’s on top of or next to my bed. On any given day in 2012, for example, it was empty wine bottles, dirty plates, multiple kinds of hot sauce, and Lawry’s seasoning salt. I slept on unmade sheets and curved my body around my laptop, which almost never left my side. This was just how I lived, all throughout college and up until about six months ago, and I was low-key miserable the whole time. I loathed having crumbs in my bed, and staring at a computer screen until I couldn’t keep my eyes open made it harder to fall asleep – that is, if I even chose to try. More often than not I would slip into a social media k-hole until the wee hours of the night, and my sleepiness would be mistaken for depression and madness. I’d entertain my most insecure thoughts until 3 in the morning, and the next day I’d wake up in a pile of magazines and empty Dorito bags, just as tired as the night before. When I moved to my Ridgewood apartment in April of this year, I made a rule: no food and no computer in the bedroom, ever. It works because my bedroom is so far away from my Internet router that I barely even get wifi in there. And it’s made a huge difference. My mind has a chance to rest, and my eyes have a chance to adjust to darkness before I go to sleep so I’m not lying there for hours with the afterimage of my Twitter feed projected on my eyelids. And no food means no crumbs, no garbage, and no extreme self loathing after the fact. I also always wear slippers around the house now. If you have pets, it’s the only way to keep their nastiness out of your sheets. Bless their disgusting little hearts.

3. Forming a Cleaning Obsession

mesy roomMy bedroom in 2013

Unless yours is a neighborhood I could only afford in my wildest fever dreams,living in New York is pretty much disgusting. Gross strangers are everywhere and some of them will even touch you unprovoked. Every so often, rats will crawl over your feet to scurry towards their next meal, aka the lovely bags of garbage so adorably piled five feet high against the tree outside your building. Urine is on literally every surface. Any human that can operate in this world on a daily basis and then come home and be perfectly content with, I don’t know, a kitchen sink full of scraps of food and trash, has a tolerance for nastiness rivaling that of  the opossum itself. In the past, very regular drinking followed by depression had created a cycle of lethargy that had allowed me to live with messes. I would use my unmade bedsheets, sprinkles of kitty litter, and piles of clothes and books and dishes as the abstract expression of my psyche. I never felt comfort in this disarray, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to control it. I remember, even before I was  a hungover 20-something, I would stand in my teenage bedroom staring at my mess and end up feeling so overwhelmed by the wreckage that I’d just waste time whining uncontrollably. As a Virgo, I require organization in order to function. Perhaps it was my Pisces moon that would make me feel so sorry for myself that I couldn’t even address the problem at all. Well, such is no longer the case. It’s not perfect, but my house is set up so that everything has its own place. I bought all the necessary tools and devised a system. Dishes are done right after dinner, counters are cleaned once a day, sweeping is done as necessary in addition to a weekly full clean of the floors (sweep, swiffer, dust-bust, spot wipe). The bathroom gets a full wipe down once a week. I make my bed every single day. I Lysol wipe my trash can.Most importantly, I clean as I go. This is not a joke – this is what it takes for me to feel like a human being. And it works. If you value yourself, you should value the space you live in and treat it accordingly, don’t you think? It doesn’t have to look like Apartment Therapy is coming to take your picture any minute now, but like, don’t leave a banana peel in your bedroom trashcan for two weeks. Trust me, it makes a difference.

4. Giving Things Away
One of the things I had to learn in order to keep a clean house is how to part with the unnecessary items cluttering up my space. I live in an old apartment with exactly one closet. It’s in the kitchen. I keep my trash bins in there. I have quite a bit of space in comparison to many other New York apartments, it’s just that everything is out in the open. Add a live-in boo to the mix and I really had no excuse to hang on to those dresses I hadn’t worn in two summers, those purses I hadn’t carried since the second I got my hands on a vintage Coach, and that puffy vest from the 80s with the broken zipper that had a lot of sentimental value from the Winter of  ’07-’08 but is certainly well memorialized in pictures by now. Luckily, my friends over at North York Creative held a perfectly timed vintage bazaar of sorts last month, to which I donated a mountain of gently used items. Still, I barely even scratched the surface of my hoarding problem. I still have a long way to go, but I don’t want to throw away too much just yet. I recently figured out how to use Etsy so it’s really only a matter of time before I become the next Sophia Amoruso. Right?

5. One Word: Roku
Two words: Gilmore Girls. Three words: Man vs. Food. I could go on and on about this one. I’ve always been an avid Netflix and Hulu user, but take my dad’s old TV and a couch from my mom and the Roku Austin brought with him when he moved in and now I have a full-on common area and entertainment center where I can bask in the joys of early 2000s WB shows. Those of you who used to read this blog for the hilarious drug-fueled antics and are wondering what happened to my Crazy Clubbin’ Lifestyle, well, this is it. Also I had a full time job for a while and a boyfriend and…you know what, I don’t have to explain myself to you! This is just what I’m into now, okay? Grow up.

6. Getting a Desk
If you think you can lie completely horizontal on the couch with the TV on and a pillow behind your head and your laptop on your thighs and actually get shit done, you can’t. You are lying to yourself. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it does take a whooole lot longer. Case in point: I tried to address and personalize 75 Christmas cards last week while sitting at my coffee table watching Rory stumble through her first few weeks at Yale and it took me EIGHT HOURS to complete them. That doesn’t even make any sense! Except when you consider that I was paying probably 3/4 of my attention the show and 1/4 to the cards, and had I actually been focusing and sitting upright in a well lighted area I could have gotten them done in two hours, tops. This is what the desk is for. I can’t say I use it all the time (right now it’s covered in piles of wrapping paper and dollar store bags) but I will say, when I need to bang out a little something on the laptop it is absolutely essential to my workflow (and I just said “workflow,” so you know I mean business). This new desk was actually another hand-me-down from my brother Winston. I guess the moral of the story here, really, is stay in good with your family and eventually they will probably give you free stuff.

7. Cooking My Own Food
Let me start by saying that this is not a weight loss tip. It certainly can be – if I went to Trader Joe’s and only bought fruits and veggies and nuts and quinoa, never ordered takeout and brought my lunch to work every day I would be a skinny lady, although probably pissy and extremely bored. I envy anyone who can shove a handful of raisins in their mouth and be like “DAMN I am so full and satisfied! I’ll wait 4 hours until dinner, go home, steam some cauliflower and call it a day!” But nah. This is about being in control of what’s going in your body. I love comfort food of all types. Does it make me feel good to spend $20 and have some fried chicken with three sides delivered to my house sometimes? Yes. But it makes me (and my bank account) feel even better to figure out how fried chicken is made and to do it myself. Not every day, of course. That shit is time consuming! But there are plenty of simple ways to prepare hearty, dank-ass foods for yourself in a reasonable time frame. I haven’t had a microwave in three years, but once I learned how to use my oven, I didn’t even need or want one. Buy a couple decent pans at Deals for cheap. Go to the store and get $30 of basic groceries to last you about two weeks (veggies, a grain, some meat, garlic, olive oil, seasoning). It beats the hell out of spending $100 a week ordering food, and the act of preparing it can even help ease the stress of your day. Plus, cooking a delicious meal does incredible things for your ego. After some practice, you’ll be able to make from-scratch cookies that impress your boyfriend’s parents (“I’m domestic and creative! Approve of me!”) and maybe even come up with your own next-level recipes that put a takeout box to shame.

IMG_0522I really did make my own fried chicken

8. Drinking More Water
I was doing really well with this earlier in the year and it made a huge difference in my energy level, my mood, my skin,and my health in general. I’m currently recovering from a holiday week that consisted of mostly vodka, which is no doubt at least partly to blame for the cold/flu/bronchitis/sinus infection something-or-other I’ve been battling for the last five days. I’m feeling pretty fatigued and disgusting right now, and my vocal cords are in the morgue. So, I’m gonna drink about six glasses of water and see if it helps. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to sleep. Ok, let’s make this a two parter. Number 8. Water and Sleep.

9. Staying in Touch

IMG_2730A little holiday card goes a long way

This one is so, so important. In every facet of life – work, family or friends – just checking in from time to time will take you a long way. Parents deserve it because they raised you and you are an ungrateful little shit. Also, they give pretty good advice. The people you’ve worked with in the past have met new people who could give you a jumpstart on your career, but not if you never email them. And, sad to say it, but from the moment you graduate college, making friends only gets harder. Lives get more complicated, hanging out gets a little more difficult to arrange. But if someone is important to you, shouldn’t they know it? Even if it’s just a little text from time to time, or jesus, even a snapchat. If  you wanna feel really good about yourself, send a handwritten letter. When I was a little kid, my dad would point at my toothbrush every night and say “brush the ones you wanna keep!” I’ve decided to apply this logic to people in my life. “Call the ones you wanna keep.” Seems like a foolproof plan.

10. Following Those Dreams, One Step at a Time
Figuring out who you want to be is hard. When I started college, I knew I wanted to write. Having gotten some subpar grades my freshman year, I didn’t have a GPA quite high enough to be accepted into the Journalism school. I didn’t know I was interested in film or TV until my then-new friend Alex encouraged me to pursue the Media Studies major. Even after three years of study, I still didn’t know I was interested in comedy until after graduation, when I was lying depressed on the couch for the tenth day in a row and it dawned on me that I’d really enjoy making one of those shows I’d been binge watching. It took me more than six months after that to move to New York, almost a whole year after that to get my first paying job in TV, and another year after that to start taking improv and sketch writing classes in my spare time. It’s definitely been a push and pull. I hear the same thing from everyone I know who is an aspiring entertainment creative. Sometimes it feels like for every two steps forward you have to take three steps back. Trying to make a buck and follow your dreams at the same time can seem like an impossible feat. I know it feels that way for me right now. But I just have to keep going. If that means writing scripts on the weekend, blogging on the subway, taking improv classes at night and reading, watching and going to see new material and acts whenever I get a free moment, then that’s what I gotta do. 2014 wasn’t the best year ever, but it wasn’t a waste, either. Clearing the cobwebs from a lifestyle cluttered with irresponsible decisions and, well, physical mess, has helped me identify the bigger steps I need to take towards my goals and create a plan to do it. And in the process I learned some important lessons.

Believe in yourself. Respect your space. Invest in your happiness. And don’t underestimate the value of taking time to get your shit together.

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SEXUAL ABDUCTION

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I may be a little late posting these, but seeing as I’m still fumbling around my apartment in a post-holiday haze singing “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas,” I figured the story of the BEST HOLIDAY PARTY OF 2013/EVER IN HISTORY was still appropriate to share.

For those of you who don’t know, I host an annual (two years & going strong!) XXXMAS party along with Jeffrey Scott, Sarah Sassafrass, Boy Reverend and Katy at their home in Raleigh. Last year we had SCURRY XXXMAS, a horror-meets-winter solstice theme that wasn’t really visually embodied beyond Christmas sweaters, sequins, and leaving our Halloween decorations up alongside snowflakes and disco balls. This year, we wanted to take things a bit further. While drunk at my brother’s Martha’s Vineyard home over Thanksgiving, I texted back and forth with Sass about themes, before finally making the Facebook event and broadcasting over Twitter. We decided on XXXMAS: ABDUCTION, where all things extraterrestrial would meet all things festive for a gigantic hometown holiday explosion.

I was certain it would be a great success, but not without some stress on my part. For an entire year after Scurry, I could not manage to live down the fact that I had fallen asleep early and missed most of my own soiree. People I didn’t even know were giving me shit about it well into the Fall of ’13, a humiliation that was only tempered when someone I’d never met before invited me to my own party this year (it was just like that episode of My So-Called Life where Rayanne used all her money to throw herself a birthday bash except I didn’t OD in the end). Although this year I would be arriving in Raleigh four days prior to the event with ample time to prepare, I had my plate pretty full with family issues and, you know, nail appointments and going to Dave & Busters. I had already purchased my look (on discount, with the help of Moe Dabbagh) and had it sent to my mother’s Cary residence, but I was unneccesarily worried about the decor. Two days before the event, I showed up to 3801 to find unassembled bubble wrap all over the floor, some kind of PVC archway in the hall, and paint and paper everywhere. Half finished gigantic alien head drawings were draped on the couch. I was eating a Cook Out corndog and spewing out complaints in my signature “I’m joking but not” tone, and I was pretty sure Sass was *this close* to blinding me with spray adhesive.

“IT WILL BE GREAT. IT’S A WORK IN PROGRESS. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.”

Sarah and I, as distinctly nonverbal and verbal artists respectively, often have a hard time imagining the other’s vision.

“We’re going to use this paper to make a giant circle and be the space portal,” she half explained while stomping around the house draped in twinkly lights and waving scissors. Whatever you say, Sarah.

And damn if I didn’t underestimate her again. Let it be known that in the midst of a full time work schedule, not to mention her final exam week, Sass still managed to spend 2 days cleaning and crafting to make the house into a full-on art installation. The Reverend’s PVC and bubble wrap creation had fully transformed the hallway into a Cosmic Ice Tunnel, and with the help of a few extras from me (a fog machine, an outdoor set up, 150 autographed extra copies of my Christmas card, and colorful lightbulb replacements in every room) as well as a few extra hands (Katy and Sass’s bro included), we managed to complete the setup by 8 pm on the night of the party…just before the first guests started barreling through the doors in packs. With the halls fully decked and LuxePosh on her decks, we were ready to leave this planet behind. Photos by Sarah Sassafrass for your viewing pleasure.
(Warning: there are lots. When Sass’ website goes public I will just link to it, but for now, enjoy the mass)
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I didn’t exactly take a census, but I want to say…everyone fabulous in the entire state was there? I think we stumbled into a time warp or something, because the clocks were saying 5 am but I felt like the party had just begun. The next morning, feeling unexpectedly spritely, Katy and I went to Chipotle, and then Bojangles, and back home to eat in the wreckage. Sass was nowhere to be found and there was trash and barf everywhere. I was using pieces of painted bubble wrap as mini surfborts to slide across the slimy floors. My body suit was in a tangled mess and my autographs were strewn across the muddy yard.

As the sun was beginning to set on the second shortest day of the year, we finally located Sass. To this day, though, she prefers she’d remained abducted.
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da fam disaster

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Happy holidays n shit, folks! Allow me to ring in the season with this jpeg of my festive card (photo by Sass), which, now that I’ve stabbed every fed ex/kinkos employee into a bloody pulp to have prints made on time, figured out exactly how to buy stamps and then spent an entire night addressing and personalizing 100 of them…have now probably arrived at your door (if you did not receive a card I suggest you become BETTER FRIENDS WITH ME. This was the first card in what is sure to be a tradition for years to come. I’d love for you to be included). These pictures were so hard to take. I wish I had some behind the scenes footage of Sass trying to make the Chokey (my apartment) presentable and then trying to keep Kos n Gon’s attention for long enough to snap this pose. It was near impossible. Maybe I’ll post the outtakes sometime!

OBViously the reason I haven’t posted anything in so long is because of the job I had (or so that’s my excuse) the last few weeks of which I spent delirious, looking like this
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and of course, answering emails like this

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Welp.

During my free time I was spending all my money on BRUNCHES and not giving a single fuck cause, I mean, ya gotta eat. One must eat. Also, I was involuntarily waking up at 9:30 am and starting to feel weak around midnight. Sometimes my friends would convince me to come out to things and I’d show my lazy face. My fav night was one where Moe, Lamonday, Emma and I went to SHADE: DETROPIA and it was shut down for some unknown reason (they have since had their ‘redux’ but I didn’t feel like going. I’m not kiddin bout this lazy thing, and also it was raining so like, nah). Afterwards we sauntered over to Wreck Room where I fended off randos who kept striking up convos about the teeny tiny Eli Manning jersey I was wearing. I don’t know anything about sports! I bought this cause it made my boobs look big and the guy I have a crush on is a huge giants fan! What are you talking about, sahn!  Moe met some dude he kept calling DJ Khaled who was most definitely not, and we ended up jumping in the back of his jeep(?) and going to Bossa Nova, where his aggro muscleman entourage wouldn’t let me talk to any boys or walk home alone. I was like, mane, I just needed a ride. I’m a free woman! The fuck is this shit! It was so much fun.

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two idiots & their cartoon counterparts

Oh, and once I went to a house show to see my friends Junior Astronomers play. Reid kept yelling stuff like “TWITTER POLL: WHO HAS A BLUNT?” and “FAM! FAM! TWITTER POLL: DO I GIVE A FACK?” and then he pulled his wiener out. It was one of the more eventful nights of the last month.
IMG_3104twitter poll: is u crazy?

I guess I have to admit something that is a bit suspect, which is I’ve probably only visually absorbed about 30% of my life over the last 2 months because I’ve been texting someone I refer to as “Teen Boo” (he’s 21). I’ve sent about a nude a day, which is out of control, and have gotten pretty much nothing else done. Meanwhile, he lives far away and I only get to see him like once a month or less (it’s the perfect relationship!). The first of those times was just before I left for Thanksgiving when he was in town visiting family. The night before he came over, I tried to tweet this
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I def did not. When we finally met IRL I did not fuck it up. We actually had a fabulous time that looked a little something like this:
IMG_3459The next day I packed up and left for a Martha’s Vineyard Skanksgiving Extravaganza, which was to take place at my brother Nate’s, and included the couple affectionately termed Winnah, a lot of vodka cran and TONS of food. As Nate prepared the turkey in his surgical gloves and we quoted got2b real and talked shit about everyone we know, I got drunker and drunker and drunker. By the end of the meal, we were apparently listening to old Daft Punk and I was apparently doing this…

and then I took this selfie on nate’s couch
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The next day I didn’t even have a hangover, but I did poop enough to make room for a MASSIVE seafood dinner that was basically a giant bowl filled with lobster and potatoes and mussels and sausage and I ate it ALL because…I don’t fuck around. This booty didn’t just appear out of nowhere, ok? Before I left we did an offroading trip around Chappy, and I instagrammed this pic that my friend Cassie called my “alter-ego who wears clothes!” which basically sums up the family-friendly side of my persona. I was still drunk, though! I mean…let’s be real.
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Since I’ve been back, I’ve been BRUNCHING MY LIFE SAVINGS AWAY with friends (Stacey visited last weekend! The look on her face when I told her I asked for Uggs for christmas was just priceless) and feeling sorry for myself because the company I work for just elects not to pay its employees whenever it’s in the mood. I’m not great at budgeting as it is, so when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, not getting one can reeeally hurt. That’s why I always eat for two, in case I have to skip a meal.
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NOW I’M IN NC and waiting for all my best homies to arrive. This year’s holiday party theme is well under construction and about to pop the fuck off. This Saturday…at 3801…they are coming.
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BE THERE.

some the wiser

IMG_1719The morning after I turned 24 my extensions had turned against me.

Autumns are always a little rough for me. My birthday is in September, which never fails to put me in an existential haze. And no matter how many years I’ve been out of school (three) that feeling of starting a new grade never fully goes away. I start to feel the weight of a change beyond my control. Who was I, who am I, does it really matter… Everything Old starts to die to make room for something New. But that can be beautiful, or so they say.

The week of my 24th birthday was the usual mix of celebration and apprehension, with a short congratulatory period pancaking to an idle anxiety. Sure, I’d accomplished some things in the past year. But what would I do next? I was back on the job hunt, newly single, another year older and this was all sounding far too familiar…

The seasons were refusing to change. I was refusing to stop using my air conditioning. Other people’s lives were advancing all around me and the most exciting things that had happened in my life recently were that my mother had sent me a care package of Kraft mac n cheese and I got a membership at Planet Fitness (a contradiction not lost on me but in fact one that I find representative of my life philosophy. Everything in moderation, sure, but still everything I want). With more time to myself, that is, less time working, I started working out. I realized I was in better shape than I’d thought, and that running is a good way to take out aggression. Plus it burns off the booze! I guess I always knew these things, but if you remember me before I moved to NYC you know I couldn’t run a mile without my heart nearly exploding from my thoracic cavity (I found that word on wikipedia. Did I use it right? I’m not a scientist.) Now I can run like two miles while sexting and still have the energy to masturbate in the shower after. I’m a regular Florence Griffith Joyner.

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OK, so maybe not. But I still consider it an accomplishment. Let me have this, okay?

Somewhere around the end of last month, Alex and I fell into a lull on our Big Project, the ever-dreaded Writer’s Paralysis leading us both to send each other terribly transparent, self-deprecating gchats from our respective caves of neuroses. I had become pretty irritable by this point, but I think that had something to do with PMS, and as much as I love her, probably something to do with my mom coming to stay the weekend at the end of September. My lack of patience is still something I really need to work on, especially when it comes to someone who does so much for me. I mean, she birthed me, and even though I didn’t deserve it, she bought me these cool knock-off crocs.
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Susan Miller gave us fair warning that October would be rife with hurdles, disappointments, or possibly blessings disguised as the worst fucking thing that ever happened. The jury is still out on the blessings part, but I felt the tension in the air from the very beginning. Granted, I always feel tension at the first of the month because the words “rent day” and “freelancing” go together about as well as Virgo and Aries (that one’s for you, Susan). This time, I had a lot to look forward to, thus a lot of planning and stressing. With grand plans come great expectations and I have to be prepared for every possible outcome.

Every fall (as in twice so far), Sarah Sassafrass, Jeffrey Scott, and Justin aka Boy Reverend come visit me for a handful of days. They’re my fam away from fam, my Team outside of Big Things. When they visited last year, I had the cheapest mattress from Ikea lying directly on my floor, we made a huge mess, and because I started a new job that weekend we didn’t get to spend as much time together as I’d hoped. This time I had the Ikea mattress on an Ikea bed, fun things scheduled for every night of their visit, and I told them to bring they own damn towels. The Monday before they arrived I was feeling equipped for a houseful of guests, but I still didn’t have a job. So I looked on craigslist, found a post I liked for a development associate position at a production company, and applied. I interviewed Wednesday and I felt good about it, but hey, I’d been wrong before. I didn’t hear back the next day, so I decided to say “fucket yolo” and go to Hannah’s salon to get my hair texturized.

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It’s always a sight for sore eyes when I see those colorful heads of hair standing at the Starbucks across from the Megabus stop. I was feeling ready to party, we went home and changed for some party, prepared to deal with the continued hiatus of the L train. After drinking at Winston’s until about 1 am and getting a belated birthday present from Sass (a collar that says BITCH), we thought we’d finally hit the street. A walk, a wait, two trains, and another walk later, we arrived at the location of the party, only to see that…it wasn’t there. We had the address right. We were standing in front of it. But the doors were shut and there was no one inside, as far as we could tell. Bummed, drunk, and weirded out, we headed to The Woods to drown our defeat in pickleback shots, but not before seeing who I was pret-ty sure was Alia Shawkat of Arrested Development fame scurrying down the street ahead of us. Despite my confusion at how I always end up at this bar and that I was convinced something must be wrong with me, we actually had a pretty decent two hours. We closed the place down and it was the first time I publicly made out with a stranger since being single. It was not as fun as it sounds. But there was a dog in the bar, so it all came out in the wash, I guess.

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Hannah didn’t realize until much later that that was not her boyfriend.

That Friday was a huge milestone for the closet comedy nerd inside me. I had my first improv class at Upright Citizens Brigade, and at 400 bucks a course, this is no small feat. UCB has been a launch pad for many of your favs, and even though it may not be at the top of my Life Goals List to be on Saturday Night Live, I’d probably rank it somewhere in the top 100. But really, as a writer with a “performance background” it’s pretty much always been a dream of mine. So when I went to the training center at 3:30 for my three hour class, I was a little bit nervous. About as nervous as I was this time last year about my topless gogo dancing casting call, that is to say, I felt awkward for about five minutes before breaking the ice and flirting with all the girls. Of course, about halfway through the course I got a call back about that position I interviewed for. I had gotten the job. Yay! But there was just one catch. No! I’d have to be available every day until 6:30 and continuing the class at UCB at this time was a no-go. Fuuuuuck. Of course, I took the job with only slight hesitation, switched out of my UCB class and bore the fees I incurred with gritted teeth.

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That night, after buying some new accessories ^ at Patricia Field, I had Jeff dress me in my look for a night at Bossa Nova (the photos of which you will see next year sometime because it takes Sarah that long to edit them, ahem)

Every part of the weekend that I wasn’t in FULL LOOK from head to toe per Jeff’s insistence, I was lounging in bed, moaning off hangovers. We pretty much only got up to eat Popeye’s and go shopping on Knickerbocker, where I showed the gang what Bushwick life is really like, and where Sarah almost shat her pants. My favorite find of the day, and the only thing I could afford, was a teeny tiny “nurses outfit” in the Halloween costume sale section of Shopper’s World, that was really more like a nurse’s bra and slutty nurse’s mini skirt…they wear those in the ER, right? After getting drunk on Evan Williams and sending some of the best sexy photos I’ve ever taken of myself, we went to Passion Lounge for the marriage of Ultra Velvet and Shock Value.  Obviously the whole thing was great until the next morning, when our fish bowled brains had shriveled to raisins and I found a twitter mention from a hater calling me a whore. Sometimes it’s hard being a star.

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Because I had scurried over to my ex’s house that night (in a bikini top and socks with my shoes in hand…let’s not talk about it) I spent the next day blazed, walking around in an oversized boy’s t-shirt, a leather peplum, and arch-splitting heels that I couldn’t take off for the sake of The Look. The only saving grace of the entire day, besides waiting in line for 30 minutes to use a piss-stained Starbucks bathroom of course, was the kielbasa sandwich I devoured at Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village. It made me glad to be an EX-vegetarian (a refreshing break from kinda feeling guilty all of the time), and made me miss the kolbász my Hungarian gramma used to put in our kapusta. I tried to make a vegan version of this once and it came out SO abominably terrible I felt I’d disgraced my ancestors and vowed never to try it again.

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After not being able to sleep at all before my first day at work, I spent 8 hours staring into my computer screen like a fool and then scurried home for my last night with my visitors. I’d looked like a bucket of horse manure all fucking day but I had also promised myself that I’d have Sarah take my Christmas card pictures with Kos n Gon before she left (I plan on being an adult this year and letting other adults know, namely my family, that I am not an ungrateful, useless person that forgot about them when I moved to the Big City). After achieving some spectacular results that I wish I could show you but won’t, the four of us sat in bed with Gonny, ate two pizzas and watched Clueless. In typical fucking fashion.

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All that week it was work, work, work, dates, dates, dates. Including my first ever Tinder date, a concept that both excited and terrified me. I love sexxxting and meeting new people and talking about myself and eating fried chicken with strangers so you’d THINK dating would be my thing but truthfully, I’d only gone on one blind date in all my years of having Facebook, Twitter, OKcupid, and access to other people’s Grindr accounts. The first guy hit me up on Twitter, turned out to be a complete psycho and put me off the whole idea for a while. Until Tinder came along and I made it my personal mission to slide the entire city of New York to the left. The way I see it with these things, someone is only safe to approach if their profile appears self deprecating, effortlessly ironic, or no-fucks-given to a strong degree. I think it was Groucho Marx that said “I wouldn’t fuck anyone from a social network that would have someone like me for a member,” to paraphrase. Anyway, I had an amazing time. I got free Pies N Thighs, and shocked myself with my ability to have a great time while completely sober with a guy who doesn’t drink. Weird, right? (Yes)

By the weekend, I realized I’d spent all my free time in the last 7 days either naked or in belly shirts, so the stress must have been good for my figure. I’d been sustaining on dick pics and Miller High Life (cause that’s all I could afford) and I thought I looked just great, which is why I was AGHAST that PaperMag put up a picture of me from last Friday’s Ultra Velvet looking like a toothless hillbilly. IRL I looked spooky and swagadocious and the paparazzi just caught me at a bad time. The perils of fame, y’all.

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Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 9.53.38 PMWho needs a jack o lantern?

That Saturday, after emptying my pockets on a prix fixe brunch, reeling off of one bong rip and watching straight boys play GTA,  I decided to get my look together for Kelela at 285. We pregamed at Moe’s and I ate free pizza while annoying, if cute, Australian boys argued with my concept of society. After trying to run away from them on the street, failing and feeling kinda bad afterward, we ended up at 285. The thing about 285 Kent: the inevitable sighting of the boy you do not want see, followed by the boy you kinda really wanna see. Both are disconcerting, and by 3:45 when Kelela left the stage I was overstimulated and ready to die.  But the night wasn’t a total loss. The music was amazing as expected, I spent the night in Reid’s bed after he paid for all my drinks, and at some point I took a selfie with a golden retriever.

IMG_1529_2The next morning, even though I found myself gnawing on slim jim and watching the Kardashians as usual, I felt like something had changed. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t really had that much to drink the night before. Maybe it was watching the leaves blow across the parking lot of the food bazaar. The air tasted different. Did I feel capable? Hopeful? Maybe I could act like a teenager and still get things done. Maybe I could be free but not lonely. Nope, as I walked down Irving avenue towards my apartment, I realized it was just autumn. I was still poor, I was still confused. I’d taken two steps forward and a five picklebacks. But hey, I was still alive. And idk, maybe I was ready to write again.

Dead at ’13

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You all know I love to complain. It’s partly because I am a loud, bratty perfectionist incapable of being satisfied and partly because I enjoy finding the humor in my misfortune and sharing that humor with you people. So it should come as no surprise that even though I have reunited with nearly every one of my closest friends in the past four weeks I can only think about how being with said friends exhausted me completely and how I’ve since become physically ill.

When I returned to Brooklyn after Christmas I spent a few days working and trying to relax. When I unsurprisingly failed at that, I focused my efforts on frantic attempts to stave off the illness I’d been trying to avoid since November (swallowing 9 whole cloves of garlic per day, mainlining packets of emergen-c, spraying the homeless with Scrubbing Bubbles, etc). Sometimes I have to remind my body that I have shit to do, and a good handful of the most important people in my life were to arrive in mere hours. I primped and dustbusted every corner of my apartment in anticipation of everyone’s arrival, which was expected to be sometime around 7 am New Years Eve. Although I only had two guests staying with me that night, pieces of my crew were to be scattered all over the city for the next week or so. I even planned a dinner for that night at Chimu, the restaurant next to my building, to bring us all together in grand adult fashion. Of course, not one individual arrived at my house before the sun was down, and only about half the reservation showed up to the restaurant.

Y do I even try?

Never mind the epic of reasonable alibis each absent member provided. I suddenly knew just how my mother felt when I showed up at her house this (and every) Christmas hung over and two days late. When I got over the minimal ego bruise of the situation and realized the food was just as delicious as I knew it would be, it was time to change into the New Years outfit I’d had planned for a month and pop no less than three bottles of champagne. No need to start off the year with any drama. Although, in a way, that was exactly what were were about to do.

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One by one they started filing in. Lil Kim, Tall Pat, Katy, Patrick, Matt, Kam and Connor joined Brad, Winston, Hannah, Coby, Peter and myself to briefly “pre-game” (something I’ve really got to find another name for) before heading to the drag show at Secret Project Robot…an event that boasted all any event need boast: free champagne and a Bushwick address.

I decided not to drink much to leave room for other activities. I was not about to have a repeat of Last New Years. 2012 was merely the beginning of my comeback. In 2013 I aim for perfection, beginning with my alcohol-to-drug ratio.

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After we arrived, the ten dollar cover–five more dollars than we had expected—tore our crew into smaller, albeit much more manageable pieces. Those of us that made it through the door were served an ample supply of teased-wig realness, a good two hours of free champagne and all your favorite crowd-pleasing hits from the 2000s. Hannah and Winston were acting like total love bugs spreading PLUR all over the place despite the fact that Hannah could barely stand up after 11:30. At one point I was on Hannah-duty and kept having to sit her down on the bench outside while I went to get drinks or go pee. By the time we finally counted down to midnight everyone around me was totally loopy, either lip syncing for their dear lives across the dance floor or caught in a tear-filled heart to heart by the pinball machines. But all I could think about was how much my god damn feet were hurting, so before we went to the next party I stopped by my house to change my shoes.

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Our next venue was oddly enough a Lutheran church in the heart of Bushwick. We entered through a dimly lit dirt basement where we checked our coats and spiraled up to the stairs to the main hall. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. What used to be a “house of God” was now a playground for heathens and insomniacs (that could afford the $60 entry fee). By this point I was so out of my mind all I could think was that it made sense. Finally a church had made itself useful to me. After I successfully over-vibed with everyone I was with to the point of toplessness, security started yelling at everyone to get out, presumably due to the rising sun. We waited for a cab in the freezing winds, checked our email and went to the second location. Inside the warehouse, the address of which remains unclear to me, we danced until our raggedy faces had fully drooped to the concrete floor (sometime around 10 am).

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That day I slept as well as I could with the afternoon sun beaming through the curtain and into my eyes.

The few nights that followed were certified flops as I had to work and was otherwise useless, until that Thursday when Patrick and I decided to hoof it in Williamsburg and have just enough drinks to say rude things to people. We left just in time to eat all of the pizza, and I fell asleep with ranch in my lap watching Reno 911.

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The next morning Patrick went to court to deal with that ticket we both got last summer (remember that time we trespassed like 6 months ago? Well I had pretty much forgotten about it too). I stayed home to fail at sleeping until Austin arrived and I skipped off to work. Afterward, in typical fashion, Patrick, Kim, Austin and I went to the Metropolitan, had some laughs, took some photos and left. And as usual, most of the fun was had on the train. But before going back to my apartment I made sure to stop by a nutritionally unsafe taqueria that was basically located in a trashcan under some stairs. I ordered a burrito situation that I drowned in 12 ounces of different hot sauces and immediately came down with a disturbing case of GUT ROT that lasted through the next day at work. I didn’t want to go out that night, but Bill had finally arrived and I couldn’t pussy out. On my way to the party I projectile vomited mid sentence on the sidewalk. I later continued to throw up in the toilet, and followed that up by drinking liquor and performing more than my share of 2009 antics, ie. runway walks back and forth in my brother’s apartment, things just flying up our noses, etc. For a minute I completely forgot we weren’t in my college living room. When we were finally heading to the bar, two of my friends got tickets for doubling in the subway turnstile before realizing the train wasn’t coming for another hour. We ended up just going to a bar in my neighborhood instead, and when we ultimately separated I decided to sleep out. This decision later left my friends stuck in the snow, desperately trying to get in touch with me (asleep, naked, fetal positioned me with a stomach ache in a boy’s bed). They ended up having to take a $50 cab to our friend’s house in Park Slope. Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of flopping lately. Perhaps I’m getting too old for this.

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Sunday night, Austin and Bill were the only two visitors left standing. Refusing to stay in for even just one of our nights together, we dragged ourselves around Brooklyn aimlessly for hours looking for bars and restaurants that may have not even existed, before settling on Greek takeout and going home to watch Archer.

Could I fucking sleep now?

Like clockwork, I was immediately overtaken by the paralyzing cold that had been stalking me for weeks. I can’t breathe, I have chills, and I’m forced to work because I just spent my last five bucks on kitty litter. As I write this, snot is pouring onto my upper lip and I miss my friends terribly. But now that they’re gone, I have the freedom to sit here alone, removing my nail polish with Burger King napkins and watching all 7 seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia in succession. And believe me, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
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holidays on xxx

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A good friend of mine said recently that December is the Sunday of the year, which might explain why in the few weeks after Thanksgiving I’d been feeling a strange combination of lethargic and anxious. I’d taken on more hours at what I refer to as my “day job,” thus falling into and perfecting a routine that gave me a sense of not entirely false responsibility and sent me to bed at a decent hour. In fact I’m almost certain that my most exciting nights leading up to the holidays were: 1) watching Contagion while babysitting in Prospect Park, 2) my worldview imploding at my workplace Christmas party when I smoked weed with my boss, and 3) getting my credit card rejected while trying to order a gin and tonic at an Irish pub on Crosby street.

Routine gives me the creeps. I’m always a worried that if I get too used to my life as it is I’ll wake up ten years from now and still be making $300 a week. I need change, I thought. I need to make moves! In a notebook I keep next to my bed I’d scrawl manic to-do lists and grandiose long term goals before waking up the next day with just enough time for the bare necessities, running all of my errands between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am. Who the hell had I become?

But I found some comfort in my friend’s observation. For as long as I can remember, that Sunday night feeling has been synonymous with the onset of a stomach flu or a category 5 identity crisis. But I’ve tried to accept over the years that there isn’t much you can do to change your life on a Sunday night. Nothing is open, everyone is checked out and home with their families. The only thing you can do you is reward your accomplishments, assess your failures and prepare yourself for the coming week.

I decided that now was the time to be kind to myself. This meant, of course, that I would focus all of my attention on my holiday plans, putting great emphasis on the best idea I’ve had all year (next to moving to New York)–

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Combining host forces with Sarah Sassafrass and Jeffrey Scott, the idea was to collide each of our most precious social pockets into one massive North Carolina Holiday Extravaganza. I arrived that Saturday at RDU airport at 11:10 AM, feeling quite sprightly in spite of my 50 hour work week and 5:30 AM train ride from my apartment to JFK. After meeting my father at the baggage claim I instructed him (as we agreed) to take me promptly to Starbucks, then to the spa for an eyebrow wax, and then to the nearest Moe’s for a taco salad. It was the perfect entree into the Triangle after such prolonged absence (although I may regret for weeks to come the fact that I did not consume one morsel of Bojangle’s while I was in town). Following lunch, daddy-o dropped me at the St. Kat K-Mart (AKA Party City) where I met Sass and Katy to buy tinsel, a disco ball, costume accessories and miles upon miles of garland. Of course no one place was fully stocked with all our needs–one employee even served me a big plate of attitude over some twinkly lights–so we had to hit up a Target and a Big Lots and a Taco Bell before going home to decorate.

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The rest of the day was spent taping black streamers into a web in the Lexington Drive hallway, covering every visible corner of every inanimate object with garland and taping an entire wall floor-to-ceiling in aluminum foil (for portrait backdrop purposes, of course). Around 7:30 we received a pleasant surprise when two girls from Red Bull rang the doorbell, said they saw our party on facebook and donated an absurd 48 free Red Bulls to the cause. I was sure it was a gift from the party gods as I was already on my last leg and I wasn’t even dressed yet.

Proving that you can lead a bitch to water but you can’t make her drink, I decided to have a sizable portion (the entire thing) of what someone called a “less than potent” weed brownie. Next thing I knew, my friends were already arriving and I was applying liquid eyeliner with rickety hands, one shoe on and my face nearly plastered to the mirror. Was I already losing it? I didn’t care. Somebody hand me my curling iron.

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(the final version of my outfit that lasted about five minutes)

The rest was a whirlwind of fantastic fuckery. People I hadn’t seen in months, some in years, came out of the proverbial woodwork to dance in our tiny, iridescent living room. Winston Filet and Princess Hannah emerged from their influenza death beds to serve holiday disco realness. Haters became lovers, enemies became friends. Someone took a shot of formaldehyde from a jar of preserved goat brains (this was a half-horror party, after all) and vomited all over the carport. The police even stopped by for a bit around midnight and refused to dissipate despite my clear and audible instructions, leaving one cop standing disregarded at the entrance like the opening scene of Home Alone. We could not be stopped.

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And then, I don’t know if it was the brownie or the natural exhaustion or the vodka I’d been mixing with champagne, but I was out. By 2 am (and that’s being generous), I had fallen asleep in Justin’s bed with my clothes still on, leaving the over-caffeinated partygoers under the supervision of my co-hosts.

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I awoke the next morning in a beer-stained ball, forgetting for a minute whether I’d even made it to my own party. But as the southern sunlight glimmered off empty bottles of Andre and strangers still slept on the living room floor, I picked up Sarah’s camera and declared another a success. I couldn’t remember much at all, but it looked fabulous in the pictures.

I wanna dank u

Not to shatter the illusion or anything, but I actually have a pretty simple life about half the time. I get pretty turned on by domesticity, not because I feel somehow destined for it as a woman (what?) but because, just like sex and partying and being a thug, it’s something I genuinely enjoy. This is heightened around the holidays. When I moved out of my parents’ house five years ago I realized I had taken for granted the elaborate ceremony my mother constructs for every single national celebration–from the Christmas to the Fourth of July to Kid’s Day, a holiday she made up for us when she was a single mom. Once I realized how hard it is just to take care of myself, I developed the utmost respect for anyone of any gender who can juggle a career and a social life and doesn’t sleep in a pile of garbage every night.

While much of this year has been about exploring what New York has to offer in terms of moneymaking and entertainment, a large part of it has also been about self discovery and improvement. In a city where you are inundated with (often unwanted) stimuli as soon as you leave your apartment, it’s important to have a comfortable apartment to come home to. And when you’re surrounded by strangers all day every day, it’s important to be comfortable with yourself when you’re finally alone.

I know…Y SO SRS?!!

What I’m trying to say is, last week I spent most of my free time dustbusting. taking pictures of cats (87 in one week–I counted), looking up Thanksgiving recipes, listening to Norah Literal Jones and writing meditations in my journal to keep the vibes posi and strong.

Here are some of the highlights.





By the time Danksgiving Eve had rolled around my positive energy was so high that I was convinced to go to The Woods for the first time in months and actually had a lot of fun! Later someone told me it was lesbian night and it all made sense. I’m not going to recount the details…just play this video I accidentally made on the cab ride home.

I’m not sure if I was still drunk the next morning or what, but I was in SUCH a good mood I bought a bouquet of flowers to bring to dinner, talked to my mom on the phone for an hour about how much I love her, and spent the rest of the day folding all my love into a serious home-cooked meal at Winston and Hannahs for our guests, Beth, Megan, Linnea and Syma (all while popping 800 mg ibuprofens to stave off my hangover).

(Winston made a REAL turkey! It was a big moment for him. From what I hear it was really good…I made a vegan roast that potentially no one enjoyed but me *DIVA SHRUG*)

(The most important ingredient in ev er y thing)

(Kiss da cook! Also idk what it is about aprons but they always slide between my boobs all wonky like this)

(The finished product! See that giant empty bowl on the corner? That’s what I ate out of. And yes, I finished it all.)
Yeah yeah, so I’d made a huuuge deal about how much partying and drinking I was going to do on Danksgiving. But really I had three beers, ate my dinner and passed out in my brother’s bed. Still though, I felt really accomplished. It’s amazing how rewarding it can be to successfully complete one adult thing from time to time.

Excuse me while I go pat myself on the back until Christmas. Or until my next fuck-up. Whichever comes first.