Category Archives: Random

Reminder: You Are an Actual Person

It’s been a hell of a week. I don’t need to link to any of what’s been going on because, well, if you don’t already know you must be a mermaid living in King Triton’s undersea realm who is too busy trying to trade your voice to a sea witch in order to marry a random human prince to pay attention to Land News(TM), in which case, good luck with that.

If you identify as a woman, you are probably having a lot of feelings right now. Anger. Sadness. Fear. Defiance. High Priestess Michelle Obama–First of her name, Mother of Dragons and Malia and Sasha,Harvester of Organic Vegetables–summed it all up pretty well, I think.

If you identify as a woman this week, you’re probably also experiencing flashbacks. Flashbacks to the time your classmate reached down your shirt and groped at your (still flat) chest during story time when you were six and said this meant you were his girlfriend. To the time when your middle school teacher looked a little too long at your bare, white, unshaven thirteen-year-old legs on the first warm May day in seventh grade and remarked that he was “grateful it was shorts season.” To the time when your roommate came home crying because a boy tried to pressure her into sex before she was ready and called her a tease for refusing. To the time your heart was pounding in your chest as you walked down the dark New York street at nine p.m., worried that the strange man on the corner, angry at having his catcalls ignored, would follow through on his threats to “fucking rape and kill you, you ugly fat bitch.”

To all the times you were made to feel like nothing more than a receptacle for men’s feelings, from lust to disgust to rage to impulses of violence. To all the times you were reduced to body parts: boobs and butts and legs and hair and midriffs and arms and feet (yes, even feet). To all the times on the sidewalk you were told, unprompted, to smile.

To all the times you were made to feel like less than human. Like less than a person.

One definition of feminism is “the radical notion that women are people.”

A reminder for you, because I’ve needed to remind myself so often this week: you are an actual person. A human being. A soul. You are more than the meat on your bones. More than a number on a scale of attractiveness or weight or both. More than a reflection of what some men (and women) hate about themselves and the state of a scary and changing world.

I am an actual person. You are an actual person, too.

I love you.

Good night.

ATTENTION, IMPORTANT NEWS: LOOK AT THIS WALRUS CAM!

I have been dealing with a lingering depressive/anxiety episode, and it wasn’t getting much better, and then someone shared this on one of my fave comment boards: it is a LIVE WALRUS CAM! YOU CAN WATCH THE WALRUSES ALL SUMMER LONG 24/7! THIS IS AMAZING!

This is a live feed of the walruses, who are doing some really good walrusing (?) in Round Island, Alaska all summer. Per Science(TM), the walruses congregate here to chill, basically, when they’re not having sex, which is in the winter. According to Wikipedia, it’s called a “haul out,” but I’m going to go ahead and call it “Walrus Netflix & Chill,” but without the requisite binge-watching of Arrested Development (seasons 1-3 only, because S4 was middling at best). They basically spend a lot of time sleeping and sometimes swimming around with their friends before sleeping more. They are adorable and I love them and they have entirely cured me of depression.

Okay, so that’s not true, but they are just GREAT, and how cool is it that I can watch these walruses and listen to their walrus sounds and watch them as they walrus from the comfort of my bedroom in HD? What a great time to be alive, so go FUCK YOURSELF, DEPRESSION! WITNESS THESE WALRUSES, AND BEGONE!

walrus-cam
I AM THE WALRUS…SO GTFO DEPRESSION

 

 

The White Girl’s Guide to Listening to #Lemonade

I greatly enjoy Beyoncé’s new album and am seeing her in concert on Monday, so here is my guide to how to listen to her new album #Lemonade if you, like myself, are a white girl:

Step 1: Watch the visual album and/or listen to the tracks on Tidal or iTunes, etc.

Step 2: Decide whether or not you like it. If you do like it, keep listening to it and feel free to tell people that you enjoyed it! If you do not like it, you do not have to keep listening to it and can listen to something else, or watch Netflix or have a beer or something.

Step 4: Refrain from writing any lengthy think-pieces about Lemonade on the internet with your special white-girl perspective or bemoaning about how it’s for black women and not for you specifically because no one needs that, nor do they care.

Step 5: That’s it. Congrats! You have successfully listened to Lemonade as a white girl!

Step 6 (Optional): If desired, drink a glass of actual lemonade and enjoy that, because lemonade the drink is actually quite refreshing and delicious.

You’re welcome.

 

 

Medication Frustration

This is the top drawer of my bedside table, a.k.a. the “med drawer”:

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This is where I keep the stuff that most folks organize neatly in a medicine cabinet. Mostly, it’s full of your typical and over-the-counter remedies: ibuprofen, pepto bismol, benadryl, cold medicine. It’s also where I keep my meds for anxiety, depression, and migraines. It’s a necessary, if messy, drawer. Usually, I open this drawer at night to take my daily medications without so much as a thought; it’s automatic, an action I’ve taken every night for years.

Sometimes, however, I really fucking hate opening that drawer. This week is one of those times.

I’ve been on some sort of daily medication to treat anxiety and depression pretty consistently since I was sixteen, which makes fifteen years of me opening this drawer (or its previous incarnations at my parents’ house and other apartments and dorms) every night. I’m incredibly grateful for this drawer, for the drugs in it (which have changed over the years several times–if you want to talk about the benefits and drawbacks of prozac vs. zoloft vs. lamictal vs. lexapro vs. a couple others I don’t remember at this point, I’m your gal) and for the doctors and therapists and friends and family members who have helped me get my shit together and get the help and medication I need to treat my anxiety and depression.

And yet, right now, I really hate that fucking drawer.

I hate that I have to cut my lexapro doses into little quarters as I wean off a higher “winter” dose to treat SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I hate the bitter taste of the pill residue that gets caught in my throat sometimes when I don’t cut the pills perfectly. I hate the fact that that higher dose made me incredibly drowsy in the afternoons for two months and eliminated my libido. I hate that these pills make it hard for me to lose weight and even, sometimes, to experience joy. I hate the fact that I rely, to some extent, on a pill to make myself “normal,” if there is such a thing.

I know that these feelings are valid–and likely temporary. I also know that there are alternatives to medication that I may try down the road in addition to my current therapy regimen. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they work, that’s great. I also know that if I decide to try those methods and they don’t work, that’s okay, too, and meds will still be there and probably still be able to help me from falling into a non-functional depressive black hole.

I sincerely hope no one thinks that I’m saying meds are inherently bad or that no one should take them; I don’t think that at all. If you are feeling low, and especially if you are thinking of harming yourself, please go get help, and if a doctor or therapist thinks meds will help, consider their advice seriously. I’m also not advocating that anyone take meds if they truly feel they aren’t working for them. Basically, I’m the non-judgmental ninja over here, promise!

All I’m doing is sharing with you that, for whatever reason, this week I’m just tired of the process. I’m tired of opening that drawer. I think it’s okay to be tired sometimes. It’s okay to hate the drawer and to feel grateful for it at the same time. I hope, if you have a drawer, you know that, too.

 

 

Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul

Occasionally, despite my college education and now 31+ years of experience living as a Human on the Planet Earth, I make a Life Errorso gargantuan that it shakes the very fiber of my being and makes me doubt whether I am worthy of success, happiness, or love.

I order self-assembly furniture online.

I know, I know, but it wasn’t my fault! I am A WRITER, DAMN IT, and writers need desks. I could write while sitting at my kitchen table, but it’s cold in the kitchen. I can also go to a coffee shop, but a coffee is two bucks MINIMUM and it’s much cheaper to just make coffee at home. The obvious solution was a small-ish desk that fits into the bay window nook in my warm-ish bedroom with the cheap homemade coffee only feet away!

So I went on Wayfair and ordered a desk. Five days later, the desk arrived. And thus began my descent to the ninth level of hell, where I joined Brutus, Judas, and…Cassius (is he the third guy? too lazy to google) in being chewed in the giant maw of Satan.

The process began auspiciously when the FedEx guy cheerfully offered to haul the giant desk-containing box up three floors to my apartment. I immediately set out to assemble the desk, whereby I rediscovered Jackie’s Foolproof Process for Furniture Assembly and Losing Your Soul:

  1. Using a knife, cut through the tape along the edges of the box.
  2. Attempt to open box, and discover that there are apparently three more layers of taped-up cardboard between you and the desk.
  3. Hack through these layers while dripping sweat everywhere. Finally remove all the cardboard to discover the furniture is encased in a sarcophagus of styrofoam, which is all stuck together with a kind of tape that is probably used to seal airlocks on the International Space Station.
  4. Hack at the styrofoam, getting bits of it all over your apartment and inhaling a good 20% of it into your lungs.
  5. After 30 minutes of chopping at styrofoam, reveal the desk. Take a water and stretch break and realize that if you can’t open a box without getting breathless that you might want to sign up for the gym.
  6. Using the included mini toolkit, attach the four legs to the desk. Easy peasy! You’re 90% done- the last step is attach the knobs to the two little drawers that are built into the desk.
  7. You go to pull out the drawer. The drawer falls apart in your hand:wp-1452825930873.jpg 
  8. Ok, you can fix it! Get out your hammer and nails to see if you can cobble the drawer back together.
  9. OH MY FUCKING GOD HOW DID I HAMMER THREE FINGERS ON MY RIGHT HAND ALL AT ONCE OH GOD OH GOD IT HURTS AGHHHHH!!
  10. Breathe through the pain, breathe through it. Ok. You’ve got this.
  11. Go down the block to the local hardware store and buy superglue. Return home, glue the drawer back together, let it set for 20 minutes per instructions. Huzzah! It looks great! YOU ARE A GODDESS!
  12. Lightly touch the drawer with one finger to test the strength of the superglue. The drawer explodes.
  13. A single tear escapes your right eye. You remove the drawer and put the desk right-side up. The desk leg lands awkwardly and stubs your right toe.
  14. You burst into tears because ARE YOU KIDDING ME I WENT TO YALE I SHOULD BE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER A FUCKING BUCK FIFTY DESK AND MY HAND HURTS AND MY FOOT HURTS AND I’M SWEATY AND IT’S RAINING AND THERE’S STYROFOAM ALL OVER MY APARTMENT AND I’VE BREATHED FIVE POUNDS OF IT IN AND NOW I’M GOING TO DIE OF STYROFOAM LUNG CANCER WHY AM I EVEN TRYING TO BE ALIVE IF I’M TOO STUPID TO SCREW TOGETHER A FUCKING WAYFAIR DESK sob sob sob.
  15. Call your mom, who is bewildered but manages to calm you down.
  16. Ashamed at your outburst, you try to go online to request replacement drawers for your desk, only to discover that the new Comcast set-top box that Infinity made you install earlier that day has DESTROYED THE INTERNET and the only network in range is called “We Can Hear You Have Sex” but it’s fucking PASSWORD PROTECTED.
  17. Cry.
  18. Remember that your phone has internet, and use that to request the parts. Ok, they’ll be here in a few days. It’s all good.
  19. Go out to a friend’s open bar birthday party to destress and consume three of these:
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    Yeah, that’s a shot that gets poured into it in addition to the rum.

     

  20. Go home and vomit up everything you ever ate or drank, but because you’re an IDIOT you throw up in the shower and not the toilet, and so when you wake up at 3 am and go in the bathroom you discover that you have to clean up a hell of a mess. You go back to bed and at 6 am you clean up and hydrate and go to the laundromat when it opens to wash your vomity clothes. Call Comcast, fix the internet, and wait for your replacement drawers as you recover your dignity.
  21. A few days later, the drawers arrive, in perfect condition! You replace them and the desk looks GREAT! HUZZAH! WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WOOOOOORRRLD! wp-1453430169027.jpg
  22. Decide to take a walk to celebrate. Pull out your headphones so you can listen to some TUNEZ while you traipse through the park.
  23. FUCK
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Ain’t it always the way?

 

 

Last. Self-assembly. Desk. Ever.

Being Visually Artistic on the Most Basic Level with Jackie

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Ha! Look what I made! I am most proud of the ones with the hashtags.

I got the materials to create these beautiful pieces of practical art really iffy mini tote bags from my Aunt and Uncle over Christmas and I am half way done (the back sides are currently blank). AREN’T YOU IMPRESSED BY MY USE OF STENCILS AND THREE DIFFERENT PAINT COLORS? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

Lol in all seriousness I love doing this shit and have fun despite the results, and now a select few (Well, eight. I have eight of these tote bags.) can look forward to receiving these around Valentine’s day. You’re…welcome?

Hope you’re all beating the January blues! xoxo

 

The Thirty-First Year of the Jackie

So, it turns out that–despite the existence of alcohol and chocolate–I have made it to my thirty-first birthday. A year ago today, I was in a sort-of-impressive-sounding corporate job with a four-hour round-trip daily commute and an email addiction. I was really depressed, and so, shortly after turning thirty, I took a leave of absence which ultimately led to me quitting my job. It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, with the possible exception of going into that super gross hot tub at Myrtle Beach during our senior trip in college (those flesh-eating viruses are NO JOKE).

Now, one year into this journey off the beaten high-achiever path that I’ve dutifully followed for most of my life, I’ve achieved a new milestone: being proud of myself on my birthday.

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me, it really is. Once I was legally able to drink, I stopped enjoying my birthday. Every January 5th brought on a contemplative funk during which I lamented my lack of achievement and progress during the previous year: “Some people my age are olympic medalists! Half my friends have graduate degrees! Look at that guy; he’s only twenty-three and he makes so much more money than I do! Look at that girl; she’s only twenty-five and she’s married with a baby!  What have I done? Look at how worthless I am!”

I once expressed this attitude to one of my coworkers at Google a few years back. She was a pretty cool chick and refreshingly honest, and she was baffled by my view of aging. She’d lost a close family member at a young age and birthdays inspired gratitude in her–she was always happy and relieved to make it another year. I remember nodding and chastising myself internally for not being grateful enough for my birthdays and for not having cancer or losing an arm to that Myrtle beach hot tub, and then going right back to dreading early January and berating myself.

This year, however, is different. When it comes to traditional measures of success, this year certainly hasn’t touched most of those that preceded it. I can’t say that I work at a fancy company. I can’t say my salary is XYZ bucks per week. I can’t talk about awards or kudos or performance scores at work, or drop the name of any executives I work with.

What I can say, however, and what I’m proud of, is that I’ve had the most new experiences in the past year of my life than in the previous eight put together. These experiences ranged from good to bad to everything in between, but they made me think (and blog) about myself and the world deeply, and in different ways than I have before.

I experienced the joy of realizing that I could write, and write well(ish), and write enough words and sentences and paragraphs to make a whole book-type document that people might want to read. I experienced the excitement of getting an agent, and the subsequent anxiety and boredom of submitting to publishers.

I experienced the love of my family, and the grief of saying goodbye to a family member, albeit a furry one. I also experienced the excitement of welcoming a new love into my life, though this created drama with my old love, which was iced coffee (sorry bae).

I experienced the stress and exhilaration of travel, from people-watching the crazy costume-clad nerds of San Diego Comic Con to getting knocked up by food in Florence and trudging through the rain in Paris in super ugly shoes and seeing Britney dance way worse than when I saw her on tour when I was sixteen.

I witnessed two amazing couples get married on opposite-ish sides of the country and cried my eyes out both times because I AM A SAP, OK?

I experienced breakdowns and bad nights, and discovered new coping mechanisms to pick myself up when I fall or when the world seems too much to handle.

In short, I experienced life, and I had the time to really take it in, as opposed to watching it all pass me by. And, for the first time since I was a little kid, I’m proud of myself for that fact alone. I’m proud of myself for trying to live well, and I’m grateful to all those people (both IRL and on this blog) who have come along on the journey with me this year.

So, here’s to the thirty-first year of the Jackie! May the thirty-second be just as interesting, and may you still be interested enough to tune in and read about it once in a while 🙂

Love,

The Birthday Girl

 

 

How to Buy a Christmas Present for Your Dad

It’s officially one week and one day until Christmas, which means that unless you don’t celebrate the holiday or are a MENSA candidate you are currently completely clueless as to what gift to buy for your father.

Dads are notoriously difficult to shop for. The main reason for this is that whenever one asks one’s father what he wants for a given holiday or birthday, the default Dad Answer() is generally one of three things:

  1. “Oh, you don’t have to give me anything. Just a phone call/you being there is enough of a gift for me.”
  2. “I dunno, whatever.”
  3. “I really have my eye on X piece of technology.” (You then research this technology and discover that it costs fourteen billion US dollars and your first born child and will become obsolete and outdated before Chinese New Year.)

So what’s an adult offspring to do? Luckily, I’m here to provide you with my foolproof X Step Guide to Buying a Christmas Present for your father:

Step 1: Buy presents for literally every other friend, family member, and pet you have as you procrastinate shopping for Dad.

Step 2: Consider buying Dad an iTunes gift card. Remember that you bought him an iTunes gift card last year. Sigh in frustration.

Step 3: Dad likes alcohol! Maybe you can get him some bartending equipment or a wine club membership or something! Yeah, that’s perfect!

Step 4: Receive a call from Mom begging you not to get Dad anymore damned bartending gadgets. He already has four red wine aerators and a deluxe gold-plated mixology set and she no longer has room in the kitchen for basic things like spoons or flour. Also, Grandpa already got him a wine-and-steak-and-cigar-and-pear-and-grapefruit-and-everything-manly of the month club so that’s out.

Step 5: Ok, fine, Mom. Head to the men’s section at Macy’s – you’ll get him a wool sweater, or some nice dress shirts! No ties, he already has a thousand ties

Step 6: Purchase a fine wool sweater and coordinating dress shirt. Call Mom in a gleeful mood to inform her of your success. You did it, and with five whole days to spare!

Step 7: Mom informs you that she has already purchased him an entire wardrobe for 2016, including the exact same sweater and shirt you bought him, along with new jeans, dress pants, khakis, shoes, a peacoat, and even a new fucking tie.

Step 8: Shake your fist in the air while swearing eternal revenge on your mother, from whom you sensed an obnoxious air of triumph over the phone at having beat you to the punch. Go to Macy’s and wait in line 45 minutes to return the sweater and shirt and argue with the saleslady who now wants to give you back 60% of what you originally paid because the item is now on sale.

Step 9: Ok, Brookstone! Brookstone is the Dad store. Maybe they have something! How about one of those cool flying drone camera things? Dad would love that shit.

Step 10: HOLY GOD EVERYTHING AT BROOKSTONE IS A BAGILLION DOLLARS INCLUDING THE DAMNED STUPID DRONE. The only items available for purchase that are under $250 are bartending-related, fuzzy throw pillows and slippers, or “personal massagers,” which…no.

Step 11: Only two days left before Christmas; you’re beginning to panic now. Call your brother to consult. He is getting Dad an iTunes gift card. You point out that you both got Dad iTunes gift cards last year. You can hear him shrugging over the phone as he says, “Whatever, I have tickets for Star Wars and my buddy Jared is waiting for me,” and hangs up on you. Asshole.

Step 12: Maybe a Michael Bublé Christmas CD? Nah, you actually like your Dad.

Step 13: Would he like some…tools? Dad’s handy, right? Lowe’s has tools, or maybe Sears, in the “harder” side of it?

Step 14: You remember the time it took Dad seven hours over a three day period to spackle and paint one wall in the downstairs bathroom. Tools are a no-go. It’s Christmas Eve now, and the stores are closing. Dad keeps hinting about all the great stuff he and Mom bought you. You ache with guilt and existential angst.

Step 15: Fuck it. You enter Walgreens ten minutes before it shuts down for the holiday and purchase a $100 iTunes gift card for your father.

You’re welcome, Apple.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Fourth of July!

Enjoy this cake, virtually!  (I will be eating it live tonight, MWAHAHAHAHAH!)

I am delicious and patriotic
I am delicious and patriotic

And remember, when in doubt about what to do on Independence Day…watch Independence Day!  Nothing brings tears to an American’s eyes more than Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and President Bill Pullman kicking a bunch of alien ass.

Welcome to Earth
Welcome to Earth

Be safe this weekend!  xoxo