Tag Archives: life

It’s our turn to fight

I haven’t written in a long time because I was job-hunting. I have a new job now. So yeah, I’m back.

And this is my election post for the day (also found on FB).

Last night I was despondent. For a few moments, my depression reared its head in the ugliest way. I barely slept.

This morning, I realized a few things:

I am white
I am well-educated
I have an amazing job with amazing benefits
I have an amazing support system
I am cis-het
I live in California

Barring a national overturning of Roe v. Wade or an uptick in assault on women in general nationwide, my rights and I are ok for the foreseeable future. Which is why it is now my job to fight for others.

For people of color, ESPECIALLY women of color
For those who don’t have the chance to go to college
For the unemployed, under-employed, and disabled
For the uninsured or those soon to be uninsured
For the poor
For the LGBT community
For people in places like Flint (STILL NO CLEAN WATER Y’ALL) and Ferguson and Standing Rock.

If you are like me and you enjoy many tremendous privileges, it is also your time to fight.

In municipal politics
In state politics
In national politics
In our communities
In our homes

I’m scared tbh. But I know I’m not nearly as scared as those in the marginalized groups above. So it’s on me. It’s on us (that mostly means you, white people).

I start by setting up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood, which will be crucial to the well-being of women and girls and even men in the coming months and years if the ACA goes down. And then I research my next steps.

To 2018 and beyond.

Much love.

Sometimes We Are All This Delicious, Mangled Cake

Yesterday, it was twenty degrees out and snowing (IN EFFING APRIL), my broken foot was aching from the cold, and I was stuck in my parents’ house. I tried writing and failed because my head was foggy from weather-induced depression. The family dog, also suffering from cabin fever, was determined to spend the entire day either licking my nose or biting my right forearm (not sure why my arm and nose are yummier than other parts of my body) in spite of every treat, game, or other scheme designed to distract her. I was PMSing and on the constant verge of tears. So, after a few hours of trying to be productive and positive, I gave up on and decided I was going to bake an AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from scratch, because IT WAS AN APRIL SNOWSTORM OF DEATH, SCREW EVERYTHING.

The cake itself turned out beautifully; the icing was easy to prepare and tasted great. Then I tried to put the icing on the cake, and it turned out like this:

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I don’t know what happened, but every time I tried to apply icing to the surface of the cake, it, like, tore the top of the cake up. I tried a knife, a spatula, a spoon, my fingers–it was all a bust. So, after mangling my beautiful cake with ill-applied icing for ten minutes, I gave up and began to cry.

Now, I realize that crying over a badly-iced cake is…not rational. But I was SO tired of the day, and my aching foot, and my foggy winter-in-April brain, and all I wanted was to PRESENT A PRETTY CAKE TO MY FAMILY AND EAT IT FRONT OF THE SAD-EYED, HUNGRY DOG AS RETRIBUTION FOR HER NIPPING AT ME ALL DAY! WAS THAT REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK, UNIVERSE?

My mom, engaged in reading on her Kindle, basically rolled her eyes at my temper tantrum, and I snapped, “OH, FUCK IT!” and spooned a glob of cake-and-icing into a bowl and took a bite.

It was delicious. My parents had some for dessert and loved it, and the dog looked at us all as we ate with a satisfying mix of envy and yearning in her eyes (HA, DOG, THAT IS WHAT YOU GET).

As I sit here typing this and eating more of my leftover mangled cake, I realize that yesterday I WAS this cake: messy and ugly, but yummy inside. I took a useless, gross, bad-mood day and tried to make something good of it. We all do this–some of us more often than others–and the results are mixed. Sometimes we rally and create a beautiful masterpiece, complete with vanilla fondant and sugar roses. Sometimes, our best achievement is a shower and clean pajamas, and store-bought cake if we’re lucky. Most often, though, we end up somewhere in the middle, with a delicious chocolate-and-cream-cheese glob of almost-but-not-quite greatness to show for our efforts. All of these outcomes are okay, because despite the messy icing, we are all sugary goodness underneath.

Today, the sun’s out, and the cake will be gone soon if its current rate of consumption continues unabated, as will the snow. I hope you make the best cake you can today 🙂

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Witness the sad, cake-less dog in the middle distance.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post; please leave a comment below, or share or like if you’re so inclined!

 

Bad Blood and Mad Love

You know that feeling when you wake up after a week of being sick and stuffed up and achy and the cold or flu or whatever the hell it was that was making you miserable is just GONE and you feel fabulous? That just-after-sick feeling? Well, that’s similar to the way I feel when the veil lifts after a depressive episode. After the crapfest that was the past few days, that’s how I feel right now. Flyin’ high, and also motivated as hell. I’m ready to kick depression and anxiety’s ass and take some names. I’m gonna get in shape and heal my foot and write thousands of words a day and learn to grill fish and take a multivitamin and be a movie star. I’m high and I’m singing to my mental illness, adapting the words of the glorious Tay-tay:

Hey depression: Remember when you tried to write me off? We used to be mad love, but after what you’ve dooooone, NOW WE GOT BAD BLOOD (HEY!).

This feeling won’t last, of course–that’s the thing about feelings, they never last. But it’s an important feeling. It’s an anchor, a dock I can tie my boat to when the waves get rough. It’s a third nautical metaphor I can’t come up with right now.

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It’s a compass to shore? Eh? No, that sucks. Sorry, shitty writer here.

It’s a high partially fueled by the amazing support I got in the comments on this blog, from facebook posts and texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s from knowing I’m not alone.

I wrote that post the other night in the aftermath of despair, wanting desperately to connect and pay forward the kindness my mother shared with me to the internet at large. I wanted to see if I could help others and let them know they aren’t alone. I did, to a certain extent, but those same people made me realize that I am not alone, too. Really realize it.

So depression and I may have some bad blood, but you guys and I? Y’all, we got MAD LOVE.

HEY!

Would love to hear from you! Leave a comment on this post, and do share and like, too.

 

 

Not alone

Be warned: this is an honest post about depression and self-harm, so don’t read if that is not what you need right now.

Tonight was not a great night. Depression combined with PMDD combined with injury combined with rain combined to form a cocktail of true shitty-ness.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have an intermittent history of self-harm. My depression and anxiety kick in, I get angry and disgusted with myself, and instead of just crying or shouting or hitting something else, I hit myself, usually in the head or leg, or both, to the point of bruising. Obviously, this is not good.

Tonight I was thoroughly convinced that I was a mean, fat, disgusting, stupid, lazy, weak-willed, worthless, uncouth, ungrateful, shallow, timid, and boring person, all at the same time. The cognitive dissonance required to think all of these things about myself at the same time was pretty impressive, but the result was not–I hit myself for the first time in probably over a year.

Besides the physical pain I caused myself, I also caused my mother, who saw me do it, emotional pain. I feel awful, and thinking about her distress brings tears of guilt as I type. But I am also grateful to her for helping me calm down and redirect the urge to hurt myself into actual discussion of my feelings, which she often shared when she had PMDD in her twenties and thirties. I’m grateful that she hugged me and dried my tears and told me she loved me. I’m grateful that she forgave me for the fear and hurt I made her feel by hurting myself.

I am lucky that I wasn’t alone.

I’m still somewhat stuck in a depressive a black hole, but my mother’s being present with me tonight was like a tiny sliver of light in that darkness. So I want to pass it on, right now, before I lose my nerve and delete this post:

If you are in despair tonight and there is no one there to comfort you, you are still not alone. There are millions of people who are with you. I am one of them. Even if no one is there to physically hug you and tell you that you are worthwhile, I will tell you now: you are not alone. You are a good person. How you are feeling is temporary, but whether this feeling lasts one hour or one day or one week or one month, you are NOT alone. 

Consider this a hug from me ❤

Love you.

 

 

Rollin’ with the homies…

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My life right now.

So being laid up by this broken foot has been overall less fun than you might think–being waited on by my brother, while necessary, got old really fast due to my cramped apartment. After a couple days off my feet to alleviate some major swelling, I determined that staying in a third floor SF walkup (with extra rickety stairs) during my ~6 week recovery was going to end in one of two outcomes: 1. I fall while trying to use the stairs with my crutches and break every other bone in my body and die, or 2. I stay in my apartment alone and go slowly insane, assign names and personalities to every inanimate object around me and talk to them like friends (OHAI, MR. TEA KETTLE! DID YOU JUST WHISTLE AT ME? DAMN, I’M FLATTERED), choke on mediocre pad thai and die. So I sucked up the cost for a last-minute cross country flight and am now at my parents’, where my mother in particular is saving my sanity by taking me on daily trips to see the suburban sights (Target and Starbucks, WOOT!) and saving me from further injury by helping with daily tasks that have gotten a LOT harder since the accident, even with my new baller KNEE SCOOTER, Y’ALL.

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I’m rolling with the homies…

I even got a basket for it, which came in handy at Target the other day as we stocked up on essentials like a dog toy shaped like an easter flower, soap with a mustache printed on it, and cadbury mini-eggs (YOU’RE WELCOME FOR MY SUPPORT OF THE COMMERCIAL CIRCUS SURROUNDING YOUR CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION, JESUS!). I must say I look pretty cool on my scooter with my giant broken foot boot, dripping sweat as I propel myself across the just-waxed floors of every big box store in southern New Hampshire at speeds that astound of the kindergarteners I whiz past while squealing, “Wheeee! EAT MY DUST, RUGRAT!”

But yeah, besides the scooter (which I’m very excited about, unless you can’t tell), this kind of sucks. I am definitely showing my able-bodied privilege here, but I have a renewed respect for people with disabilities. Many places are not as friendly to the mobility-impaired as you might think, despite the ADA. Everything from a curbs to a rain mat to a sidewalk seam is a possible death trap if you land your crutch the wrong way, and maneuvering scooters and wheelchairs through crowds at the airport and aisles at the supermarket can be really frustrating. I’m SO fortunate that this is temporary (and that I didn’t need surgery!), and I feel sheepish and naive for having to get injured myself to realize that. Also, as a depressed person, I haven’t been dealing with the limitations of even temporary physical disability/injury well, which has made the last week kind of hard. I don’t say that to ask for pity, it’s just a reality of having depression and anxiety–I take physical illness really hard and often see it as a personal failing (like, oh, if I had washed my hands more, I wouldn’t have gotten the flu; or, if I had worn a different pair of shoes, I wouldn’t have broken my foot). Pointless self-blame is super fun, right, fellow depressed peeps? :/

That being said, I’m finally getting into a rhythm, and I’ll survive, obviously. Having my parents and Roxie around has been a life-saver. Roxie especially provides great emotional support as she’s a big fan of cuddling me in the evenings when I watch TV or write:

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She really liked “The Martian.”

So my main life advice to you all at present is to avoid drinking wine and then walking, put away some money in a rainy-day fund in case you ever need to buy a knee scooter on Amazon, and don’t pay attention to the election on Facebook (this last one is not broken foot-related, just general advice. We still have eight months of this, guys. EIGHT. MONTHS.).

Enjoy your feet if you got ’em! ❤

 

 

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.

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

 

 

The Single Millennial’s 15-Step Guide to Surviving the Holidays

THAT’S RIGHT, KIDDOS! It’s the most wonderful time of the year – if you’re rich, have excellent will power when it comes to eating and drinking, and are happily coupled.  Otherwise, as I well know, it can be a tough time, so to help you deal I present to you the Single Millennial’s 15-Step Guide to Surviving the Holidays! READ WITH CARE.

Step 1: Put up all your holiday decorations, including your organically farmed hypoallergenic spruce fir, energy efficient LED lights, and flameless menorah, all while enjoying the holiday stylings of Michael Bublé on Google Play! Check your calendar for the month to make sure you have all of your holiday parties and events scheduled. Make a detailed diet plan for those days when you’re not attending a holiday event to make sure you stay healthy and energized – and avoid putting on those extra holiday pounds! Pledge only to have 1-2 drinks per holiday event so as to remain hangover-free throughout the season!

Step 2: Mug of soy cocoa in hand, sit down to make your holiday gift list, including all your dear friends, coworkers, and family members. Smile as you plan fun surprises for the people you love the most in your life and imagine their faces lighting up with joy when they open your beautifully wrapped, thoughtful presents! And wow, that Michael Bublé can SING, am I right?!

Step 3: Though you have already planned out all your holiday events and shopping, you receive a last-minute invite to drinks with some friends the night before the company Christmas party. You decide to go, but you’ll just have one glass of wine – that won’t mess up your schedule!

Step 4: Wake up the next morning with a massive hangover. You’re unsure how happy hour at the wine bar turned into karaoke at 3 am, but you know you have to rally for the company party that evening so you try to hold back the vomit. You promise yourself that you will not drink at the company party – last night was a fluke, and it won’t happen again.

Step 5: Ok, so you got completely wasted at the company holiday party and dirty danced with your boss while your coworkers took videos and posted them to Instagram – so what? Everyone else was smashed, to0! Besides, the rest of your holiday events this season are with family and close friends, so you won’t be drinking a lot. What’s one night of letting loose? Also, thank the lord that they didn’t play any Michael Bublé.

Step 6: Still hungover from the company party the night before and in your pajamas, you go on Facebook at 2 pm and see a twelve-paragraph rant from your Great Uncle Ronnie about how Fox News says there’s a war on Christmas going on, led by Muslim-In-Chief NOBAMA, Planned Parenthood, and Feminazis.  Feel your stomach heave with too many mocha martinis as you thank your lucky stars you haven’t seen Great Uncle Ronnie in seven years and will likely never have to talk to him in person again.

Step 7: Around 4 pm, you receive a call from your mother informing you that Great Uncle Ronnie will be attending Christmas dinner this year and you will need to purchase a present for him. Take a long shower and cry from the DTs and then go to the bodega. Buy and immediately consume a Family Size bag of Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream chips. Go to bed at 7 pm full of self-loathing.

Step 8: You wake up early feeling much better the next day, so you decide to go online to attack your Christmas shopping. Let’s see…maybe a sweater for Lucy, and Eric might like that new book by Ta-Nehisi Coates…

Step 9: …Jesus Christ, when did sweaters and books get so damned expensive? You haven’t seen Eric since Halloween, so he probably won’t get you anything, either, and he can just buy that book on Kindle Unlimited if he wants it, anyways. And Lucy, well, that girl comes from money and her boyfriend’s always buying her expensive shit, so there’s nothing you could get her that she doesn’t already have. You’ll just get cards for everyone at Walgreens, that will be fine, right? You don’t need to spend money to show your love for your friends!

Step 10: Oh, shit, you have to buy something for Uncle Ronnie. According to his Facebook page, all he really wants for Christmas is an AR-15. You briefly consider buying him a copy of Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay but decide you do, in fact, want to survive until 2016. You order him the latest Michael Bublé Christmas CD instead. Take that, asshole.

Step 11: Attend your annual friend group holiday gathering. Every other fucking person there has brought gifts for you, and all you have for them are these damned Walgreens cards. Also ERIC GOT YOU A SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLAR GIFT CERTIFICATE TO TARGET ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You slink to the corner, ashamed, and drink the equivalent of two bottles of wine by yourself as you realize that not only is everyone else more generous than you are, they are all also in long term relationships and you are the only single person at the party. Are you the only single person BECAUSE you’re not generous? Is that why? Also, why is the host playing Michael Bublé music? Why are you alone? WHYYYYY AM I-

Step 12: Wake up feeling awful. Realize that after you blacked out the night before, Eric and Lucy had to pour you into an Uber during surge pricing and drag you up three flights of stairs to your apartment to put you to bed. Oops. If nothing else, you now owe them each a major apology gift. Get on the scale and decide that since you’re already fucked, weight-wise, you might as well go all-in. You order an entire large pizza and eat it alone while watching While You Were Sleeping on TV with commercials, even though you have the DVD on your shelf (you’re just too lazy get it and put it in). Fall asleep at 2 am with your head on the pizza box after watching your thirtieth commercial for the upcoming Michael Bublé Christmas special.

Step 13: Travel home for the holidays. Somehow, end up in the middle seat  on your six hour flight. Because of “high winds” your plane needs to land in Vegas for 30 minutes to refuel. Thirty minutes becomes ninety and you order three of those little bottles of wine to keep yourself sane as the two giant men on either side of you jab their elbows into your ribs and fart copiously.

Step 14: Arrive home and watch your parents bite their tongues to avoid commenting on your disheveled and bloated appearance. Go to your childhood bedroom and pass out for ten hours because, damn it, you’ve earned it, and you need to steel yourself for Christmas dinner with Uncle Ronnie, who’s told your mother via text several times that he’s really concerned that you haven’t found a man to take care of you yet and that it’s all Feminism’s fault.

Step 15: On Christmas morning, your mother lets you know that Uncle Ronnie is at home with gout and will not be attending Christmas dinner after all! Beam as you sit down with your family for the meal, and tear up as you realize that, hey, maybe there is a God, after all! Huzzah! Joy to the World, bitches!

Finally, after dinner, your mom tells you she’d like the whole family to join her in the family room to watch the Michael Bublé special, which she recorded on DVR.

WHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYASYD;LAJS;GAKS?

In the name of Bublé, I wish you a happy holiday season.

 

 

Visualizing Utopia

I took an involuntary blogging hiatus over Thanksgiving due to the DeathColdwhich laid me out flat for a good eight days; I’m still hacking up phlegm on an hourly basis (you’re welcome for the mental image).

As a return to blogging post-DeathCold, I was going to do a beauty post with my recommendations from my latest Allure Beauty Box, but I couldn’t because my mind is still spinning from the latest high-profile incidence of domestic terrorism that took place on Black Friday at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs as well as the revelations regarding Laquan McDonald’s murder at the hands of police last year, among, as usual, other horrific things.  Hell, as I’m typing this, my Twitter feed is telling me that there is a mass shooting incident ONGOING in San Bernardino with as many as 20 injuries possibly reported (Update as I finish this article: 12 dead possibly. My God.)

I’m so, so, so tired of this. Exhausted, in fact. Aren’t we all?

I’m so tired of the culture of violence, especially against women, children, people of color, and the poor. Tired of the racism and Islamophobia. Tired of the unwillingness of so many people to see that things need to change, from rape culture to reasonable, commonsense restrictions on gun ownership and use (BTW, if you want to post a comment here on how gun violence is solely a mental illness issue vs. gun availability, please just don’t. As a mentally ill person myself, you’re not gonna convince me and I’m sure I won’t convince you. Feel free to ignore this post and go find someone else to talk to about it; the internet should have plenty of safe spaces for that. Thanks in advance.).

I feel like I do what I can, you know? A lot of you feel that way, too, I bet. We donate money to causes we believe in, support and vote for candidates to public office who we hope will be able effect positive change. And yet, it still feels like nothing gets better. Part of this, I know, is due to the fact that we have access to news of horrible events 24/7 thanks to social media. Awful things have always happened, but now we hear of them more often, with video and audio recordings of the carnage as it happens to bring the horror even closer to home.

So what do we do? What do I do, not just to make the world a better place, but to keep myself sane? Other than continue to donate money and vote and speak out where I can, I’ve had to rely more and more these days on a super-lame-sounding but effective technique to keep myself going: visualization.

About a month ago, I read the fantastic book The Feminist Utopia Project, which is a collection of about sixty stories, cartoons, interviews, fake news articles, etc. imagining a better future, courtesy of dozens of feminist thinkers in many fields. I highly recommend it, even if you’re not that big into feminism. Reading this book gave me a new tool to deal with the horror of the everyday world: visualizing utopia.

When things get awful, like they are getting right now in San Bernardino as well as in thousands of places around the world, I try to take a breath and imagine that fifty or one hundred or two hundred years from now, those who come after me (or maybe even me, if I’m lucky) will see a world that is measurably better than this one. One where the term “mass shooting” is only discussed in history class, the way we discuss the Spanish Inquisition today. A world where we take care of our planet instead of treating it like a disposable coffee cup. A world where no one’s life is better or worse than anyone else’s simply because of their gender identity, skin color, religion, sexual orientation, or where they live in on the map. A world where religion, if it exists at all, is ONLY a source of peace and inner strength for believers and a cause for generosity and love rather than an excuse for hatred. A world without violence. A world where gun control is a non-issue because no one feels like they would ever even need a gun to protect themselves. A world where a woman can go for a run in the park at 3 am with no worry for her safety. A world where no one is homeless. A world where no one is hungry. A world where fewer people are sick, and those who are receive free, top-quality care from medical personnel who are caring and well-treated themselves. A world where there are no borders, and people pass freely from one place to another, sure of hospitality and interest and love wherever they go. A world where I spend every day cuddling with doggies.*  In a word, utopia.

Today especially, we are really, really far off from that world. As it seems to do every couple of days, my heart is breaking for a new group of victims of violence as I type this. I don’t want to become desensitized to it, but I want to believe that things can be better. I want to believe in my utopia. I choose to believe in it today, and I actively wish for it. If the holiday season brings anything good with it, any sort of power, let it be the power to bring humanity closer to this utopia, or any version of it. I’m visualizing, hard. I hope you can take a moment today to visualize it, too. If enough of us do, it can only soothe our souls and bring us closer to making it a reality.

Peace. And I promise, back to beauty posts and funnier shit later this week.

*Ok, this one is a little selfish, but, come on, what is Utopia without doggies?

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Roxie would definitely be part of Utopia.

 

 

 

Paris, je t’aime

 

Sappiness Warning: this post is sappy but I am sappy so yeah.

Last week was pretty terrible.  On top of ISIS The First Evil’s attacks in Beirut and Iraq, earthquakes in Japan, the continuing Syrian refugee crisis, general racism, and a million other awful shitty things I am no doubt forgetting, there was Paris.

Paris is one of my favorite places in the world.  I returned there for the first time since college this past August, when I was overjoyed to introduce one of my best friends to the city where I first discovered the joy of cheese for dessert (and lunch, and a snack, and breakfast).  Paris is the subject of more than half of the “artwork” pieces “decorating” my lame apartment.  It’s where I spent more evenings than I care to admit drinking two euro wine next to a dirty canal while various Frenchmen asked me if I was Mexican(?).  It’s where I fell sleep on the bus after a night of clubbing and ended up stranded in the suburbs at 3 am in a skimpy dress and heels higher than any I’ve worn since the age of twenty.  It’s where I got the news that a friend had died in an accident and cried my eyes out in a café at the thought missing her funeral while the usually stuffy waitstaff looked on sympathetically.  It’s where I learned to be an adult.  It’s where I first understood that I am a citizen of both the United States and the world. Seeing Paris under siege for hours on TV Friday night left me paralyzed for a good 24 hours.

None of this is different from what anyone else who loves Paris (or Beirut, or New York, or any other place ravaged by terrorism) has said or written before, but I just had to get it out, here and, as it turns out, on paper.  A new piece of (extremely lame) “artwork” now adorns the walls of my (extremely lame) apartment, in honor of the city that helped me grow up.  Paris, je t’aime.  Mon coeur est à toi pour toujours.

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