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. 

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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. 

Living for a Living

Living for a Living

barbie office
I swear to god I’m gonna make being an adult look cute if it kills me.

When I was little I never understood why parents complained about being adults.

“You’ll see,” they’d say. “Being a child is a luxury. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

At the time it felt like my problems were being ignored. I couldn’t even choose what to eat or when to go to bed, and what’s worse, I was forced to go to a school every day where I had to deal with the cut-throat social politics of elementary school girls. This was no luxury, I thought. What were these people talking about?

Now that I’m older, of course, I see what they meant. There’s the obvious fact of having more responsibility, people depending on you for things, worrying about money, about living up to expectations, about health, about death. “Okay,” I thought, about a year into the whole adulthood thing. “This kinda sucks too.”

When I was in sixth grade I had a particularly hard time adjusting. My mother had just gotten remarried and I had moved into a big house with a combined family, many members of which were not too keen on sharing anything with me, oxygen included. Middle school was off to a rough start. I was still naively eager for a certain crowd of kids to want to be friends with me, which they didn’t. A gifted child but a terrible listener, I had a hard time following directions and would often fall behind in class. Not to mention my body was changing. I was wearing sports bras from Limited Too in a children’s size 16. I was standing silently outside a circle of kids while they laughed at jokes I didn’t get. I was copying other people’s math homework because I’d managed to place into the advanced classes without ever really learning my multiplication tables. And I was desperately hoping it would all be over soon.

One night my dad called while I was doing some homework after school.

“Dad!” I squealed. “You’ll never believe it! Today I wished that school would go by fast, and it did!” 

“Mm,” he mumbled, the same way he had when I’d told him I thought I could see air when I was six years old. “Don’t wish your life away, kiddo.”

By this time, I had already heard about the problems my dad had with his eyes when he was a kid. I knew he’d had trouble reading, and that school was especially hard for him in the elementary and junior high years. He’d lived in Taiwan for a year when he was 12, and when he came back to the States he had to repeat the seventh grade. I knew he wouldn’t do middle school over again if you paid him. So why was he being so protective of my time?

I realize now that two things happen when you get a little older: time goes by faster, and less seems to change.

This is why two months have passed since I’ve last written. It’s why I didn’t notice it had been so long, and why I haven’t had much to say. It’s also why, at age 52, my father was telling me to relish the days where I had something he didn’t. My whole life laid out in front of me, years to decide who I was going to be, the freedom to make mistakes that wouldn’t have long term detriment or legal implications, and the absence of that underlying feeling all adults secretly have, that we’re squandering our potential, stressing ourselves to the limit, careening towards our end of days just hoping and praying we’ll have something to show for it. It’s true what they say, that youth is wasted on the young. What good is all the time in the world if you have no concept of time to begin with?

A lot has happened in these last two months. And they’ve been big, important steps for me, but just your run-of-the-mill adulty stuff. James and I got our own place in Greenpoint in a gutted out church, with the fixtures and the central air and the deep tub and the roof and the outdoor space we always wanted. The place is small but we’re happy, and the cats are happy, and we don’t mind giving some things away. Even with the reduced square footage, our rent went up quite a bit. So I needed to take my job hunt more seriously and really put my nuts to the wall to find work.

After putting myself out there and getting rejected so many times in a row that I couldn’t tell if I was job hunting or speed dating, I finally found a place that wanted me. I actually didn’t think I was right for the job, and I wasn’t terribly qualified either, but they seemed to think I was capable enough and hired me right away. Two months later, I think I have a handle on things. I have benefits and paid time off and a healthy sleep schedule. I go to the same salad bar every day during my lunch hour and listen to podcasts while I eat alone. I meet James on the platform at Union Square every day at 6:45, go home, make dinner, watch Netflix, maybe write a little, and go to bed. It is so delightfully, wonderfully, magically boring. And so far, I really love it.

I went to The Gap the other day and bought button-downs. Can you believe this? I’m an assistant at a design studio, so I don’t have to wear heels to work or get my hair blown out every day, but I can’t exactly go dressed like Malibu Barbie. Yeah it’s a bummer, but I also don’t mind being taken seriously. I just want to do good work, make my money, and get out of there. Part of growing up is knowing that you don’t have to show your entire personality, all your tastes and ambitions, every shade of who you are and want to be, to every person you encounter. At this point in my life, I think I’ll get farther if I hide a few things from the people who sign my checks. And the thing about selling out is, it makes your apartment so much nicer. Plus, idk, The Gap has some nice stuff.

The hard part of having the grown up day job is, well, there are a few. The first is getting out of bed every morning (I have no suggestions for this). The second is making sure you can manage not to turn into a sloppy, depressed mom who has given up on looking cute (this is a personal problem I’m trying to solve by keeping dry shampoo in my desk, eating fucking salads, and forcing myself to go to one social event a month). The third is staying focused on what you really want to do, remembering the difference between your actual two-year goal and what you wrote on your employee evaluation. But probably the hardest part is assuring yourself that how you make your money, and how much of it you have, isn’t what defines you. That the small achievements really do matter. And that we still have time, no matter what age, to make our dreams come true.

And in the meantime, well, you might find yourself at The Gap. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.