#FLASHBACKFRIDAY: My Seventh Grade Dressing Room

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Wow. Happy Friday – this was probably the longest most stressful week of 2015 so far, being that it was the only one that didn’t include a major holiday.

Today, we flashback to the year 2002. In seventh grade I was obsessed with teen magazines. YM, Cosmogirl, Teen Beat, Teen Vogue, j14, Seventeen…sometimes even the real Cosmopolitan which I would thumb through, wide-eyed, not understanding a single word.

“What’s a cli-TOR-is? I want one!”

Americans had a much different view of celebrity culture in the pre-social media days. While little girls still worship the stars of Pretty Little Liars or whatever show teens are watching the same way we idolized Hilary Duff back then (yes there was a time she was VERY MUCH relevant and we all cared about her – don’t deny it), I can’t help but feel like celebs have been humanized by the vehicles they now have to communicate with fans. Instagram, Twitter…it used to be that the only way we could learn about our favs was through printed and bound magazine articles that made them seem so disconnected from our normal tween boring-ass lives.

One form of listicle I remembered seeing often was the WHAT “SO-AND-SO” HAS IN HER DRESSING ROOM! variety.  Looking back this was nothing more than a very effective way of slapping a celebrity name on some random products to endorse them to impressionable kids. I still run into these crocks of shit all the time as an adult. “REESE WITHERSPOON SWEARS BY KIEHL’S!!” I mean, I’m a smart, grown, educated girl but if a celebrity told me she dodged highway traffic as her preferred form of exercise I’d probably consider it for at least a second. We’re all pretty much brainwashed, and have been our whole lives.

Since I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I’ve always kept a journal. Since I’ve also always wanted to be a celebrity, some of the things I wrote in my journal looked like this entry from May 11, 2002, written in green gel pen.

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“~What I Would have~in My DRESSING~ROOm!~

-1 case of DASANI water bottles (filled)
-1 case of Lipsmaker sponge on sparkler all flavors
– 3 things of hunny
-flinstons vitamens
-computer w/ AIM
-zyrtec
-Acuvue color contacs
-Secret sheer dry
-Baby oil & powder
-tanning oil
-Dentine Ice gum
-Qutips
-oil absorbant pads
-clean & clear foam face wash
-fruit, hehe
-pringles”

And another consumer was born. At first reading this I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my little 12-year-old self. She’d been duped by magazine ads and bullshit articles. She thought the right skincare products are what make you a woman and she wanted to be famous so she could have as many Pringles and as much lip gloss as she could ever want. It all made me so sad.

But then I remembered how good Pringles are – so I put on some lip gloss, and I went out to buy some.

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On Posting Less

9021053-abused-woman-cryingDon’t look at me. But please, don’t stop looking at me.

I’m taking sketch writing classes at Upright Citizens Brigade, and we recently wrote character sketches. The rules when writing a character sketch is you have to identify three big things: What is this character’s pure characteristic? What are they doing? And what is their point of view? As a writer, or even just as a person, it can be very distressing to not know these answers when the character in question is you.

With social media, and especially as a creative person, there’s all this pressure to be constantly presenting yourself, to keep people interested in you or some facet of what you do. A lot of the times when I’m on a sort of hiatus with certain forms of social media, or just not as present, it’s because I’m reexamining what’s important to me. I think this is happening to me now. Every few years I experience a transformation from who I was to who I will be, where I feel very detached from whatever “brand” or persona I’ve cultivated, like I’ve exhausted those ideas and I’m unimpressed with them. I figured out they didn’t work.

Part of what I struggle with during these times is that I feel like my identity is more of a mystery, that my plan is unclear and what makes me uniquely me, or rather how I would “sell myself,” is something that’s in the process of being discovered. This feeling of being unknown to yourself is very frustrating for obvious reasons. There’s a logical side in all – or most – of us that says “these things don’t matter! How you’re perceived in not who you are! If a tree falls in a forest and no one instagrams it, it still makes a sound!” but the fact is, no matter how much we scoff and roll our eyes at it, this is our world. These things do matter because everyone agrees they matter. A social construction, no matter how shallow, is still a construction within which we live. It seems like so much of the stress of dealing with things like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., is being ashamed of the fact that we care at all.

When it comes to social media, or life in general, I try not to put too much pressure on myself to participate constantly or curate a specific type of content, and just do what feels right and fun. What could be more “me” than my own unique set of thoughts and aesthetic impulses? This seems in its own way like cultivating a brand or identity, but in a way that is maybe healthier and more organic. The pressure of being well received or meeting some arbitrary standard is eliminated with this approach. If only temporarily.

That’s the other half of the struggle, that this feeling of freedom typically doesn’t last, and one way or another I end up feeling the pressure to contribute, to promote myself as a being. Not necessarily to promote my work, just to create this awareness of my existence and what my life is like. Even though sometimes not participating, not having anything to contribute or desiring to be a part of the conversation may be this perfectly healthy thing I need to experience, I end up feeling like I’m being left out. As though people will forget about me, or there’s some big world I’m not a part of, or the trajectory of my life success is somehow dependent on the traffic I generate from random updates on my daily life. But inevitably, when I am participating, the attention falls into this bottomless pit, and I ultimately feel unsatisfied yet crave more of the same.

I don’t mean to discredit the value of promoting oneself and skills, but for me its important to recognize it as a means to an end. It’s all fine and good if you want to be famous for being famous, get attention for attention’s sake. That concept is such an interesting phenomenon that’s really taken off in our lifetime, and it’s somehow so attractive, even in its lack of depth. But that’s not what I’m interested in attaining. The real work I’m interested in doing is done privately, for the most part, with the intent of creating a finished product. And if that product is not getting created, should it really matter if anyone’s paying attention? The same logic could be applied to finding out who you are, to living your life. Shouldn’t the experience of it all matter more than its presentation? Can the two ever really be simultaneous if every time we’re facing straight ahead we’re looking into our selfie camera?

I’m not nostalgic for the way things used to be. I can barely even remember things being different, and I assume every generation has had their own struggle with image consciousness, remaining in the moment, making choices in how to perform their identity. Who can blame any of us? I guess it comes down to a few things: self-esteem, mortality, the feeling that relevance is somehow correlational to worth, and the idea that “someone saw me, someone heard me, so I was here.” I’d like to learn to appreciate the value of being the only one to experience a moment when it happens. And anyhow, I could always tell a story about it later.

(Copied from my journal. Because I really can’t keep anything to myself, can I?)

Virtual Reality

IMG_8220 I don’t talk to Alex enough. You know Alex, my long time friend, the third big brother I never had, the one who has lived in LA for a few years and has what I think is an assistant-ish super Hollywoody-type job? We sometimes write together. Mostly he writes without me. He is very productive. I am very, well, you read the blog. One of Alex’s major pastimes is cyber-bullying me. He does this because he knows I don’t take criticism very well and he likes to take his emotions out on the people who will react most strongly. I’m trying to learn not to take it personally. Usually it ends up okay if I can keep my cool long enough to get him to apologize. We tried talking about this through text recently, and it quickly spun into a different conversation.

Me: I’m stressing myself out. You’re a real ballbuster you know

Alex: Same. I was having really bad panic attacks so now I’m not drinking caffeine But that won’t solve everything What’s going on w you

Me: Last night I had a dream I was raped by two guys and then my teeth turned to sand dollars and crumbled out of my head

Alex: Oh my god

Me: I’m sure that has to do with some underlying psychological something

Alex: Yeah…

Me: But I actually feel pretty okay on the surface

Alex: I’ve been feeling mentally unstable the past month Like losing reality Idk why

Me: We should talk more

Alex: Probably I just don’t even know what the problem is.

Me: Things are definitely feeling unreal, but in a way that is almost too real.

Alex: Yes that’s a nice way to put it I just feel useless

Me: Essentially we’re all insane and nothing is really worth it, and all the things that seem good are bad and vice versa, happy people are actually sad, alcohol gets boring after a while, and you just find yourself asking, “what now?”

Alex: Seriously That’s why I’m like “going sober” I like weed and booze but it does nothing. Success is the only high I want.

Me: Truly I don’t really smoke weed ever. I find it upsets me often

Alex: AND a cute boy that is nice and loves me

Me: Unless I literally have nothing else that I should be doing

Alex: It fucks me UP

Me: Which is never

Alex: I can barely handle it Right! It just makes you anxious about doing things you need to do so you don’t and then you feel like shit

Me: I’m glad I have James. Things are going well, but I find myself a little too pleased with the habitual domestic things we do like make dinner, and I worry that my ambition is dwindling and that the sum of my accomplishments will be having kids and a yard and a husband and being normal, and that I’ll like that
But maybe the secret is to just get a Xanax addiction and become a Stepford wife
At least then there’d be hope for a reality show

Alex: I mean if you like that then who cares But kids KILL That’s my cynical wisdom

Me: I do love kids Maybe for my 25th birthday I’ll freeze an egg

Alex: You literally can’t do anything with kids I’m sure they are great! Lol It is the future

Me: I’m going to write a funny mom book

Alex: YEA but that’s not a reason to have kids

Me: It’ll be called “mommy why are you crying: stories of how my children ruined my life”

Alex: You have like 12 more years
My mom had me at 36 and I’m completely normal
….. Lolol ok

Me: Yeah but she had two kids before you

Alex: That’s true

Me: You’re supposed to have ur first like
Basically when ur my age

Alex: Does that make it better?
Wow
But it’s just biology!

Me: Yeah :/

Alex: Drink those voices away!

Me: But seriously I’m freezing my eggs

Alex: Might as well
Mary is already 26

Me: Turning 25 is like

Alex: Jesus
But you see these cool couples with their kids and it doesn’t seem so fun

Me: Oh hey next big bday I’m old as shit

Alex: It just seems like prison
Dude 25 SUCKS
26 is better
But ppl will say it’s the other way around

Me: Not depressing, I mean kind of nice and exciting. I don’t hate my life or anything so I’m not like disappointed in myself
You always disagree with me on this tho
Ages

Alex: Oh god I am.
On getting older??
I think I’ll be chill when I’m 35

Me: On which ages are the worst

Alex: Bahaha

Me: Idk if I’ll ever be chill? Let’s be honest

Alex: 20s are just hard. It’s just weird seeing all these people I know getting married
Hahahahah
I think so
You’re pretty cool

Me: Basically I just keep telling myself that every stupid failure and shitty experience will make a fun story someday
And at the very least maybe I’ll have a rich husband, if I’m lucky someone I love
Woo dream big
Thanks btw you too

Alex: Hahaha
Yames

Me: It’s not that I should suck less at life, it’s that I should be writing more about sucking at it

Alex: He seems great to me Mmmm yea

Me: He’s great in a lot of ways.
You’d like him
But he’s an easy target.
Sensitive

Alex: I think I probably would
He IS sensitive
I think he’s just Italian

Me: He’s a Capricorn
And he’s only half Italian
But I like that he’s traditionally masculine in a lot of ways. Plus he loves me. I guess that’s really the point here.
You wanna start a literary zine?

Alex: I like that And he’s sexy

Me: Yeah he is

Alex: To me
Lol In a platonic way

Me: And to me, obviously
His body is incredible it like sucks that he won’t dress for it
He buys his work shirts at Costco
Which is like hot in its own way

IMG_8251My boyfriend standing in front of his high school alma mater and doing some pose that I choose to pretend is tai chi

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A picture of Lindsay Lohan’s family’s house I took on a bike ride through Merrick, NY. Lindsay and James have the same hometown. This is relevant because it just is.

Alex: A zine sounds fun but I have a lot on my plate at the moment I can’t make a commitment
He is so normcore but not even bc I don’t think he’s post indie

Me: I was mostly joking

Alex: This is v funny

Me: I was going to toss out the potential title “are any of us doing anything”

Alex: Most frat guys are like that though. When he makes more money you can help him out.

Me: Yeah he’s not normcore he’s just norm, like I’m aware that he interacts with the world without quite as many levels of irony as me, and I’m fine with it, because it’s all bullshit anyway
The fact that I’m fine with it is what makes me scared I secretly wanna be norm
But I wanna be norm in this like fantasy sort of way, like only because New York is a dystopia in so many ways. Like I don’t even wanna be norm I wanna like actually live inside a sears catalog or something

Alex: Hahahahha Norm is the new weird tho
Weird as we know it is the new norm and it’s kinda tired
Like being OUT THERE AND WEIRD
Hahahah sears

Me: Yeah. Doesn’t it seem like society is tricking itself into believing homogeneity is a style choice when actually we are probably just giving in to the pointlessness of asserting individualism in the digital age

We might as well all turn into iPhones. That’d be phat

Alex: Cyborgs is the next thing

Me: Borgcore

Alex: It is pointless I’ve been saying it for years what’s next? Bc if you try to assert your individuality and everyone is trying to because that’s the norm, it’s impossible so the movement, it like collapses on itself
That’s why I think fashion will die eventually

Me: People just revert to indulging in the simple commercial pleasures of life

Alex: No one believes me

Me: Eventually our generation will give in and assimilate
People just get tired

Alex: We’re all going to wear government controlled silver jumpsuits

Me: Yeah but even without government control

Alex: That help us live in a harsh world where it’s too hot or too cold cuz we fucked everything up

Me: I have a theory that people will basically control themselves

Alex: Yeah I guess

Me: And trick themselves into thinking it’s individual expression

Alex: Government matters less than corporations

Me: Like social media, everyone was all worried back in the day the government was going to be spying on us, then we just willingly started putting every detail of our lives out in public. I agree with you, individuality is played out.

Alex: Hmmmmm
You just have to have fun with whatever you can
While you can

Me: In fact the millennial infatuation and ultimate disappointment with individuality may be the beginning of its death

Alex: Ugh on the plus side my apartment is nice

Me: Aw yay

Alex: Yeah let’s capitalize on the death of individuality

Me: A monopoly on identity If you can’t beat em join em. I’m sure that’s what Orwell was trying to say.

—-

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Life is plastic, it’s fantastic

We complain about being out of touch with reality as though there is any reality to speak of, and we know that’s not true. In June’s mercury retrograde I attempted to do a bit of soul searching, some personal and some societal, I guess. Whether intentional or not, I live on the line between high and low culture, shallow and meaningful, absorbed in such trivialities as my Internet stats while failing to ignore my yearn for meaning in my actual life. Just like everyone else, I can’t really decide what is “real” or what is “meaningful.” I’ll watch KUWTK in the suburbs with my boyfriend and enjoy it. I’ll go to an exhibition of artworks praising Kim Kardashian as a deity and agree with it. I’ll read an article about the OJ trial and the connection between the Kardashian family and other reality show stars, in which they are dubbed the murderers of popular culture, and I’ll agree with that too. I exist in two worlds; one is where instagram likes are currency, where Heidi Montag is a genius and looking good is the equivalent of reaching nirvana. In the other world, holy cow, I actually want to emotionally invest in substantial things.

IMG_8369Open bar selfie at art party called The Passion of Kim Kardashian

We are living in a world where the art, the consumption, the media, the criticism, the satire and the daily fucking struggle are so simultaneous that writing about this, even caring about it, feels redundant. It can sometimes feel like we have only three options. Lower our expectations and settle down, go to grad school so at least the conversations we have about relevant things will be somewhat intelligent, or act like a child forever. Who even has time to be a good person? Who has time to make themselves happy, or the world a better in a real way? If the struggle for substance and meaning is Sisyphean, then why even bother to stress? Might as well drink kool-aid with the Church of Kim K. If I’m ever nostalgic for the nineties it’s because the nineties were the time I had to do the least. While my social anxiety was at an all-time high, I was actually unironically enjoying the pleasures of suburbia and consumerism without asking any questions. Slip-n-slides and trampolines were making me happy, just like they were supposed to. I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t looking for beauty in truth, I just assumed this was the truth. I was privileged, and I may not have known it, but I wasn’t deluded into thinking I didn’t want to be. Reality TV is totally bullshit but nobody really cares, so maybe life can be like that. After all, whatever we accept as true becomes the reality. You might as well put on the costume. You might as well pretend. And at the end of the day, you might as well participate in the scam. It’s almost the same thing as having hope. Right? What’s so great about the truth anyway? When it comes to my future, I don’t want to know the odds. I’ll keep my blinders on for now, and when things get too rough, I’ll visit someone’s neighborhood pool. IMG_8462

(W)INTERNET INSANITY

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“Everything is going to be okay,” I’ve been saying on repeat. To myself, to other people, to stray cats, to no one in particular. Every year this happens, so it should come as no surprise. I have never ever been a winter person. I keep thinking it will change, that one of these Christmases will just be so spectacular that I am fully energized to take on the next year’s goals and resolutions with the gumption they deserve, all polar vortexes be damned. Despite the evident awesomeness that was my 2013 holiday season I can’t seem to resist the dark temptation to emotionally self indulge.

It happened a lot in college. When I wasn’t working on papers or in retail with no access to my phone, I would sit in my room bored out of my mind refreshing facebook over and over. There may not have been anything good on the internet, I thought, but I was going to waste my time with it anyway. And what would come of this? Not much, except longform analyses of every other person’s instagrams and tweets and profile pictures, and then my instagrams and tweets and profile pictures, and then their worth (calculated using an algorithm based on average likes, followers, and how much I happen to envy them), and then my self worth (which of course could never compete). The next thing I knew it’d be 3 in the morning, the skin on the inside of my bottom lip would be rough from gnawing nervously as I spiraled deeper and deeper into an identity crisis–a crisis based on identities with no inherent truth or validity, mere projections of aspiration and constructed self image–at a speed so seemingly beyond my control it would begin to snowball into a fully formed depression.

Will I ever be as popular as her?
Will I ever have someone like him?
Who am I really? URLy? IRLy?
What is my value as a human being? Physical, spiritual, virtual?
Will anyone ever appreciate me at the level I need?
Why do I need it? Am I weaker than other people?

And this was before I had a smartphone. Imagine my chagrin years later, while isolating myself from the cold, to find myself in the same vortex of self doubt.

Truthfully, social media statistics are just a glorified version of high school yearbook superlatives socially accepted by adults. I frequently make the argument that who we are on the internet is no less genuine than the identity we construct in the physical world. To draw an inequality is to place too much inherent value on “the identity” itself, something that while we each cling to it for survival in a modern society, while we were raised as millennials to believe that each and every one of us is special and unique and important in a way that has never before existed, while fashion and music and the food we eat feel like an outward expression of an internal truth, is merely a combination of options that have been decided for us from an incomprehensibly intricate social construction. How can the clothes that I wear and the words that I say and the people I consort with in the physical world be considered any more valuable than their virtual counterparts? The way that I look in person isn’t any more real than online (photoshop? makeup? plastic surgery? haircuts? the infinite ways I could choose to dress myself?). I have “known” people for years in strictly offline relationships that have never come close to the intimacy I have achieved with some online. The internet is as real as reality, people, which is to say, not at all.

There is quite a bit to be said for physical contact, though, isn’t there. Being able to touch the person you love and physically experience them is something technology has not quite been able to accurately simulate and a luxury I certainly long for every day in my long distance relationship. While I can place myself mentally miles away by digitally engaging 24/7 with people in another city (and I do), I cannot be satiated, cannot rest assured that I have not missed anything, cannot drift to sleep without a palpable loneliness and two burning retinas from staring at screens. What I do have that I don’t in “real life,” is the ability to stare at what I wish I had, who and where I wish I were, all day every day until I have ignored my physical life so successfully that I don’t even know how to go to the bathroom anymore without my phone much less carry on a conversation.

I appreciate everything technology has afforded me, but maybe I should take a step back. In high school I deleted AIM off my computer because I was unable to focus on anything but the alert sound I had set for my crush, and it was the best choice I could have made for myself. I focused on schoolwork, I made art in my spare time. Then Facebook came along and ruined all of that AND gave me access to the personal information of every person that has ever dated anyone I’ve ever liked.

I compare myself to my friends a lot too. I asked Alex how he was getting so many facebook likes on his most recent blog post (you know, aside from the fact that it’s great) and he was like “Take a look, I have far more friends than you. They’re coming out of the woodwork! I never delete.” I do delete. Until recently I was a big fan of the delete. Why would I want to afford a person access to my life if it serves me no benefit? Ah, yes, the curse of self-promotion. Or another I’ve been experiencing lately, the curse of the NEED TO KNOW. You know the Need to Know curse. A girl you don’t like lurks your boyfriend…her face and her words make you uneasy and defensive…passive aggression rules all of your interactions. There’s no reason for you stay connected to this person other than to “keep tabs on them,” or, more accurately, to feel bad about yourself. It’s Media Masochism at its finest, and what’s more, it says a whole hell of a lot about your trust issues, your level of self esteem, and in my case, a lot about how, despite my attempts to progress, I still partake in the patriarchal construct of a necessity for competition between women.

I want to be stronger. I want to ascend to a level of comfort with all my identities and lack thereof, namely the still fetal relationship I have with myself that I go to bed with every night and wake up with every morning. I want to be comfortable alone, in this physical space right here and right now. I want to look forward and face the fucking snow even though I hate it so much and remember that there will be a Spring, there will be a Summer, and that a time will come where I rise to the level of success and popularity and appreciation that I think I deserve.

And most of all, I want to remember that it all means nothing unless I can truly love my Self. In all its forms.

Renaissance or Something

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I fired my therapist. She deserved it. I had originally hired her to help me through some of the stresses of moving to a new city, spending most of my time by myself, deciding the next move in my career, coming to terms with the way my upbringing has affected my relationships, you know, the usual shit. Once a week I would show up and crack my knuckles, excited to plow through these issues and move on with my life. She’d greet me in the waiting room with a meek, insincere half-smile. “How are you?” I’d ask her casually, to which she’d always respond “I’m okay.” Then she’d sit in silence and bored disapproval while I frowned out the window at the Empire State Building and psychoanalyzed myself. Sometimes I’d pause and look her way, inviting participation. She’d lift her chin abruptly as if startled from sleep, raise her eyebrows and make some empty comment like “you should do something about that.” I always left feeling very annoyed and slightly sorry for her. Was I the only person who could manage to pick a therapist more depressed than I was?

You all know that since the beginning of August I have singlehandedly held down New York for Team Big Things, getting by on my own with the help of the internet and the 4 friends I’ve made since I moved here. Much of TBT will be moving to Brooklyn in as soon as two weeks, and I am overcome with relief. I don’t even think I will realize how much it sucked to be here without them until I finally have them back. It’s texts like these that prove I will one day be back to norm again.
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For a while I played with the idea of meeting some people on the internet, which was a bust for the most part. A few months back I made a fun OkCupid profile as a joke. I often make joke profiles on social networks I think might be dumb out of curiosity. This would explain how I got stuck with “ButtButt” as a foursquare name, “Catdookie” on instagram, and “Slutz[underscore]Taco” on OkCupid. Turns out people don’t think you are joking when you call yourself a Slutz_Taco on a dating website. They truly think you will sleep with them even if they look like a sea monster made of turds and use pick up lines like these:
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God bless these fools. Nevertheless, I could not shake my desire for new mans. And attention in general, really.

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In a dramatic turn of events, it was the dumbness of the internet that eventually brought me together with a boothang. Snapchat, specifically. Have you ever snapchatted your phone number to someone in the middle of the night? If you haven’t, it is a great way to start a romantic rendezvous with your celebrity crush. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

If you live in New York (and maybe even if you don’t, but I can’t say for sure), you’ve probably realized that A LOT of people have been getting sick with colds and haven’t been able to shake them for up to two fucking months. I’m not saying it’s a government conspiracy (CHEMTRAILS) but it has definitely affected me quite a bit and that has definitely sucked.
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^Here is a picture of me with a 102 degree fever after I sleepwalked to the corner store and bought a shit ton of cereal.
I’ve been to the doctor 3 times in the last month and in the meantime I have been slacking on all my other appointments. My cats are due for a teeth cleaning (do other people do this?) and it’s been so long since I’ve gotten brazilian that I’m positive my Bikini Artist is going to laugh in my face the next time I hit the spa.

When I’m NOT texting my new boo and nursing an illness sometimes I go out to public locations and alter my mind. I’m not sure what actually happens at these functions besides taking selfies but what else am I trying to do really?
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It should also be mentioned that I quit my job at the salon to start working on a TV show. Before I started this new “gig” I had the privilege of dipping down to North Carolina for a bit of fun, the photos of which I will unload later. It’s too much glamour and beauty and suburbia for this particular post.

WHILE I WAS GONE it brightened up substantially around the city and I have been loving it. Honestly if you would just follow me on instagram @catdookie I wouldn’t have to repost these here and it would be far more convenient for me overall.
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Cute, right? Now that winter is officially over and life officially no longer sucks, I’ve rediscovered the fun of walking around the city aimlessly. Also I think Jadakiss lives in my neighborhood.
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My new job is fabulous and great and everything you’d expect. I even made a new BEST FRIEND to add to the collection. It really helps to have a person around for moral support while you’re ruining your manicure and eating far too much craft services. I’m not sure how long this particular job will last because the end of the season is near, so I gotta get in as much free food as possible before then. IMG_8121 IMG_7897
I actually think I may be physically addicted to terrible food at this point. My hours at work are so crazy that I don’t really have the time (or fucks) for grocery shopping, so GrubHub is essentially my livelihood. The other day I ate no less than four kinds of fried seafood out of a cardboard box, and last week I ordered Chinese THREE times, one of which was just after I had finished eating Chinese. I never regret it until I step out of bed the next morning into a pile of empty takeout boxes. Then I feel just a bit gross.

Late hours do work well, though, with the fact that I like to stay up until 5 am playing with my hair (or having sex). Hannah got a job at a new salon where she gave me a brand new cut and color, and helped me style my fun new clip-in extensions.
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If you live in the city you should definitely check out Foster Glorioso at 5 East 19th Street. It’s super gorgeous and beyond chill. Plus they have wine!
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^Here we are on our way to the FIRST bachelorette party I’d ever been to. Our friend Lisa celebrated the end of her freedom and I spent all of my fucking money on male strippers! It was fun, but they should have been tipping MY ass…like, do you even see this weave? (Truly I’m kidding, these extensions were cheap as hell and take forever to put in, so mostly I’ve been rocking my new REAL hair a la Uma in Pulp Fiction on a good day. Still though.)

Yyyyeah, I’m still broke, I’m still crazy, and I still have a dead rat in my backyard (in case you were wondering). But I have a new job and new look so like, move over. ‘Cause this is a competition, and I am here 2 win.

Frankenshit


Now usually I don’t do this but uh…(smoke inside, that is. but everyone else does it here and it’s THE WEEKEND and I’m by myself on my computer so…party. Also I spent the whole day doing yoga and looking at recipes on Pinterest I AM A DUAL PERSONALITY)

It’s been so long since I’ve been up front about my antics with you guys. As in, so long that I am about to tell you stories from October while currently planning my XXXmas party. Maybe I was sleeping on them because, well, October wasn’t the cutest of months and I am only now recovering. But I think…I think I’m ready.

It was the week of October Something, and Moe and Bradford, being the ONLY MEMBERS OF TEAM BIG THINGS THAT CARE ENOUGH, came up to visit me on their fall break. We kicked off the celebration by going to Wreck Room, a divey, Carrboro-esque bar with car seats as booths and graffiti scribbles everywhere and regular live noise-pop.
Reuniting feelz so good, y’all. Pretty sure this was a “pinkies out for Bernie Mac” moment. 
Of course I started the night a little overconfident and splashed a 4 dollar beer in my eye right of the bat. 
No night is complete without some casual adult breast feeding and a little street-anal.
The next day is when things started to get a little strange. By this point in the month I had somewhat successfully balanced my new job at the salon with drinking 40s at Winston’s and hosting visitors from home. I’d had the job for about two weeks, and although the ins and outs were still a little confusing I was getting the hang of it. I had almost forgotten that a few weeks before, in a frenzy to find fast cash, I answered a craigslist ad to be a bodypainted server/model at giant a masquerade Halloween warehouse party. I had sent them my picture because I thought it would be somewhat funny, and they were offering $1000 for one night of “work” which, let’s be honest, I’ve kind of done for free on multiple occasions. I’d be kidding myself to think I was above it, right?

By now they’d gotten back to me, “they” being this dude’s assistant (the guy owns a hotel or something and has had some small hollywood roles). They asked me to come by for an interview, which I had scheduled right after my interview at the hair salon (it ended up working out great because I wore a slutty black dress for “versatility” and it may have been the only reason I got the job at the salon. My boss is a straight man). The interview consisted of me waiting around for 20 minutes and then going up to the empty penthouse of this dude’s hotel and talking to him for five minutes about the size of my breasts and my level of comfort with toplessness. I thought it so was bizarre at the time, sitting on the patio of the 11th floor with the Empire State Building looming behind me and interviewing to be a go-go dancer. But I thought, “there’s a first time for everything” and “yolo” and “$$$$” and “who cares?” The man offered me drinks and food about 50 times to my decline. He told me about the different positions, one as a cocktail waitress that gets paid $500, and one as a “party masseuse,” which is a girl that walks around the party body-painted (with panties on!) and massaging people on ecstasy. Those are the girls that get paid $1000. That’s the one I said I wanted.

“We’re going to need a few photos of you,” he said. He meant topless photos. I gave him a nervous look at first and then shrugged. “I understand if you’re not comfortable,” he said. “But don’t worry, these pictures aren’t going anywhere. I have thousands of naked pictures on my laptop.” “So do I,” I said. What’s another person with a topless photo of me at this point? He departed and went downstairs, leaving me in the room with his assistant. She told me to strip down to my underwear, which was just a thong. I took my dress off while she checked her blackberry. Then, on the back of my application she wrote the number 27 in permanent marker. 27, my same number from the Miss National Pre-teen of North Carolina pageant I did when I was 11, where I won first place in sportswear modeling but fifth overall due to my “age inappropriate” glamour shot photos (I sat in fake sand with my legs open. I was wearing makeup and knee length shorts. I was 10. It shocked the southern masses). Having been made to feel like a slut for the last 12 years of my life, damned if I’m ever going to be ashamed of my body at this point. I held my number and did a series of poses for the assistant, slipped my dress back on and skipped out.

Now it was the “callback,” and I went back to the hotel to find the other girls, none of whom looked older than 19, waiting nervously by the elevator. I immediately became Stripper Mommy and tried to engage everyone in conversation to pump them up. “I heard there’s going to be an open bar!” It sort of worked. I made friends with a girl from the Philippines who didn’t speak much English which seems to be a running trend lately. Slowly more and more girls arrived, and before I knew it at least 100 of us were standing in a line, signing waivers and being forced to give up our cell phones. Here we go.

Once we got up to the penthouse we were all supposed to take off everything but our thongs to be bodypainted. All the girls were fun and hilarious, and most of them were comfortable with the idea. We undressed on the patio and went back to the main room where there was a DJ and the open bar I had hoped for. There were only four bodypainters and about a million of us, so for the first hour everyone was just standing around semi-awkwardly, chugging champagne and looking at each other’s tits. I was making jokes left and right and befriending this baby hippie who was telling me about her latest dubstep festival. I couldn’t stop laughing and staring at everything. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen, by far. Sponsors from somewhere were walking around scouting who they wanted to represent their brands at the party. The owner of the hotel was walking around with his two tiny dogs and all white ensemble as if he does this every week, which he might. Photographers were snapping photos and one woman was making a video of the charade. A funky girl that looked like a thuggish Tila Tequila was getting a ravey blue Tarzan tanktop painted onto her perfect body by this sexy new-age black man with gauges. I never once saw the bottom of my glass.

As the girls and myself started getting drunker and drunker I started having more fun. I was surrounded by 100 friendly, super confident babes that loved their bodies. This never happens, and it was not what I had expected at all. The DJ was playing all the songs drunk girls love, from “Ur Luv is My Drug” to “Call Me Maybe.” Before I knew it all the ratchet girls had formed a giant krump circle, their asses never more than 6 inches off the ground at any given time. When “Single Ladies” came on, Baby Dubstep Hippie shocked everyone by jumping in the circle and doing the entire choreo start to finish. I have never seen a room full of women this excited in my life.

Finally I got painted, a bikini top in the shape of apples even though I never liked red on me much. We took group photos and I smoked cigarettes while looking around cautiously as the owner started taking girls aside to chat with them privately. “I’m not here to be anybody’s girlfriend,” I thought, and said, multiple times that night. I put my name on the list for the highest paying position and left. It was midnight on a Thursday and my friends were in town…hello…I’m going out.

Before I left I took a picture of my apple tits and instagrammed it. I won’t post the picture here. I like that it’s ungooglable for now and it’s a great reason for you to follow me @catdookie.

When I left the hotel I went to meet Bradford, Moe, Emma and Lamonday who were out for CMJ. I am lazy and bad at finding stuff like this to do because I don’t care enough, but when Moe’s in town I am always on the list for something. Tonight it was the Spin party, with AraabMuzik, Chromeo and MNDR, which, whatever. There was another open bar, which always earns points, and the douchey crowd made it easy for me to skip the line for the bathroom by showing them my apples. I won’t say this was a low point for me, because I’ve been really low before. It certainly wasn’t the best party either, but I was having a good time. Just your average night, I suppose.
Just to give you an idea of how thrilled I was by the atmosphere of this event. They were handing out promotional trucker hats made of paper.

Obviously I ended up having some fun that night.
The next day Hotel Dude’s assistant called me and told me I had to come for my second callback that night if I wanted the job. She told me the other girls and I would meet Dude at the hotel bar at 10 and then go to “the loft space,” which I thought meant the eventual location of the party. I said yes even though I had work the next morning at 9:30, because it sounded like this was “my only chance” and she said it would only take until 1 am. When I showed up at the hotel there was only one other girl waiting, an adorable Brooklyn native that barely grazed 5 ft. Dude was overseeing a nightclub act and had his bartender serve us unlimited beverages. I told myself I’d only have a few drinks, but we were waiting for a while and the drinks kept coming one after the other. The girl and I talked about our brothers and she showed me pictures on her blackberry of the food she’d eaten recently. I asked her how she found out about this job and what she thought the “second audition” was going to be like. She wasn’t sure, and we both started feeling a little off about the whole thing. Where were the other girls? Why were they taking us to a second location? Where even was this second location? We established our limits (no bottomless, no touching) and decided to ask Dude to his face what he had planned for us. He very candidly explained that the “audition” would consist of us going to go to his apartment, getting naked, and “massaging” him. Girl and I looked at each other. I’m no hooker, and if I was do you REALLY think I’d work for free? Heeeeeell nah. We walked.

I felt a little sordid for what was really the first time in this whole process. Partly because I was out 1000 bucks and the whole world had already pretty much seen me naked. But mostly because I was bummed that what I had approached as a fun, sexually freeing experience rejecting the stigma of nudity had ultimately turned into the run-of-the-mill exploitation anyone else would have assumed. I got free drinks out of it and had a lot of fun, so I don’t feel like I lost much. Hey, I’ll try almost anything once, but I drawing the line at prostitution. And, like, crystal meth.

“Come with me,” the girl said as she grabbed my hand and dragged me out of the hotel lounge. “I know some people.” Before I knew it, it was the hour I’d planned to go home and I was walking clear across town with a girl I’d just met to a club I’d just heard of for the first time. Maybe you know of Club Amnesia. It’s like the Pacha of hip hop, I guess, although I’ve obviously never been to Pacha. We get to the door at the front of a line that wraps around the block. My tiny friend gives the doorman a kiss on the cheek and we cross the velvet rope. Girl is actually Latina, but I could feel the piercing group side-eye at what must have looked like two little white girls cutting in line. “Miguel is supposed to be here tonight,” she says to me while the security guards search through our bags. I’m already wasted at this point, wide eyed and freaked out as a man twice my size metal detects between my legs.

My new best friend told me we were only drinking Hennessey and cranberry that night, and I was happy to oblige as I was not yet used to getting paid every week and temporarily thought I was rich. Because I’m a complete idiot I offered to buy the drinks. She gave me some money for tip, but I ended up spending $80 on four drinks. I was having fun for a few minutes, maybe even hours, and then everything went sour. I realized I had work in 6 hours at my brand new job and I was wasted and getting dry-raped in this intense-ass club. I think I tried to make out with Girl which was a no-go. Miguel very well could have been performing and I would not have realized. I was gone. I waved goodbye to my friend and darted out the front door, towards the street and into the back of a cab.

The thing is, when you catch a cab in Manhattan and tell them you live in Bushwick you ALWAYS need to be giving specific directions to the driver. CASE IN POINT my ass was so drunk that night I told homie to take the Williamsburg bridge, rattled off some cross streets and pretty much lost consciousness until I was in a part of Brooklyn I had never ever seen before and the driver was yelling at me to get out. Next thing I knew I was crying on a street corner at 4 am, drunk and exhausted, hooded strangers walking right by me without a glance. When I first moved to New York I thought it was only a “certain class of people” that you’d find rambling to themselves in a ball on the sidewalk. I quickly realized everyone that lives here takes turns playing the part of the destitute and clinically insane. That night it was me, and not for the first or last time.

The night ended with a kind stranger driving by and offering me a ride, the sort of thing any intelligent or non-desperate person would have turned down. But at this point I would have accepted anything, and having gained a little more control over my senses I was able to direct him to my apartment using the map on my phone. I was no less than a 15 minute drive away. He dropped me off and I thanked him sincerely without ever getting his name.

That night I slept for 3 hours before getting up for work, where I was to spill an entire large coffee all over myself and get called out by a coworker for smelling like alcohol. Luckily at the salon we just spritz each other with perfume and go about our day like nothing is wrong even when it really, really is.

The next week was Halloween Friday, the first in what was to be several consecutive celebrations of the same holiday. After work, Hannah and I went to Ricky’s to snag some children’s costumes and fake blood for our half-baked zombie hospital theme: “We’ll be the surgeons and Winston can be our escaped patient! We obviously need cleavers.” If you have “the body” for it, I highly HIGHLY suggest buying children’s costumes for your next Halloween extravaganza. They are usually pretty expandable, if the arms and legs are a little short, and you save like 50 bucks. I dressed my brother in our Great Grandmother’s old nightgown which I may or may not have ruined with fake blood that may or may not be machine washable. All in all I think we came out great.
That night we met up with two aliens, a dead fox and Tony and went to one of the infamous Bushwick mansion parties. I don’t remember much besides Tony spending 20 minutes pouring Joose into my face and getting chased for trying to steal the lightup statue.

And then Sandy happened. I don’t pay attention to the weather ever, but my parents started frantically texting me something the media dramatically named a “FRANKENSTORM.” I rolled my eyes at the phone all like, “Remember the Derecho last July? When everyone freaked out and the only thing that happened was a few cool instagrams of clouds? We’re gonna be fine.” Just in case, I bought some rad candles and an ample supply of Cap’n Crunch.

Natural disasters are about sharing! Sharing cereal with your cat, or a bottle of Jim Beam with that guy you always wanted to sleep with, or you know, electricity and hot water with your friends from Lower Manhattan.

So I was kind of wrong, but not quite. Much of New York, as you know, was super fucked by Sandy. But my neighborhood, being as far inland in Brooklyn as physically poss, was largely unaffected. The worst that happened to Bushwick was that the trains were shut down for like a week, and all the white kids with internships and retail jobs in Manhattan had to celebrate Halloween together five fucking days in a row.

That Tuesday I went to Tandem, probably my favorite bar in Bushwick as it is mostly queer and generally pretty dancey and fun. I wore a pair of fairy wings and did that thing I always do where I get drunk and come out as a full-on lesbian. The jury will always be out on my sexuality, though, as it fucking should be. Unsurprisingly, I saw a Sarah Cousler imposter. If you look hard enough you can find them in every cool city in the country, maybe even the world. They try their best, but they will never be quite as good.
By the time actual Halloween rolled around, I was almost completely over it.
Almost. I sent this picture to all my best friends as a kind of holiday ecard. 

Instead of going out again, I smoked two joints with Hannah and Winston and made them watch This Is It with me while I cried.

Tell me you can watch this with dry eyes.


That weekend we went back to the mansion and I spent most of the night doing mutual manual with some dude in the closet while trying not to vomit on him.


Someone at the party gave me this mixtape, pretty much making all the weirdness worthwhile. 

When October FINALLY ended, election day was upon us. A few days earlier I had mailed my absentee ballot into North Carolina like a GOOD CITIZEN. The state went red but I still felt actualized enough by the outcome of the election, and the fact that I got to take this instagram

On the night of the election I watched the returns at Winston’s with two forties of Ballantine and a box of off brand mac and cheese. As soon as Ohio went blue I was sucked into a vortex of mania that led me to watching the Crazytown “Butterfly” video 3 times, convincing everyone to huff dishwasher detergent and I think eating a little bit of old spice.
I helped pick your president!!!

Since then I’ve been living the broke life as usual and trying to get used to New York’s schizophrenic weather patterns. HURRICANE! SNOW! 65 AND SUNNY! I’ve been buying lots of clothes and household items I can’t afford. I’ve been staying out a lot and working a lot, all while planning my upcoming celebrations of DANKSGIVING and XXXMAS. Every week is another fucking holiday. With my personality and New York’s relentlessness, I’ll be lucky if I ever get the chance to have a normal life.

…why do I even have a Pinterest?