Sometimes I have really, really irrational fears that come out of nowhere, and they sort of take over my brain for a while. So today I decided that it might help if I write them down and share them with the entire Internet. You know, like it might just make me feel a little better to know that everyone who reads my blog knows how I really feel deep down inside, on my worst days. #human #dontjudgeme
So, firstly, sometimes I read blogs like this and worry that I will never ever have what they have. What if I never get married? What if I never have babies? What if I never have the home life I want to have?
Even worse: What if I've already had the great loves of my life, and I've like reached my quota, and I don't get to have any more?
Even even worse: What if I don't deserve any more love because I fucked up my past ones too much?
Even even even worse: What did I do wrong? What is so wrong with me that all my past relationships failed so miserably and I can't stay in touch with even a single one of my exes, even just as friends?
What ifI'm just one of the unlucky ones?
Did you ever hurt so badly that you loved it?
What if I never write anything meaningful or far-reaching?
What if I never finish my book?
What if I lose my writing voice, or my drive to write, or people stop liking my writing?
What if I never achieve anything great in my life?
What if I just think I have something great to offer the world, but really I don't?
What if I spend my whole life doing a job I like, but don't love, just because I want the security of having a job, and then I never make enough art and I forget my passion and I wake up and I'm 30 and I've made nothing significant?
What if I just keep telling myself there's always tomorrow, and I put off all the things I want to do, just because it's easier that way?
It's just one day, one day, one day after another.
What if there's actually no order to the universe, and every action is ultimately devoid of meaning?
What if that lack of order means that it's possible to make just a few mistakes and totally fuck up the rest of your life?
What if I've already fucked up my life and I just don't know it yet?
Ugh. I hate when I get like this, and I hate even more when I sound whiny. I finally watched Conan's last episode the other night, and I teared up when he said the following, because I felt so inspired by his positivity. I have to hope that what he says is true, because otherwise I have no idea what to think.
All I ask of you, especially young people, is one thing. Please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism - it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen.
Sorry, Conan. I promise I'm not usually this cynical. I'm a really optimistic person, I swear! It's just that I'm human, and I'm honest, and as an honest human I have to say: the future is fucking scary sometimes, and your early-mid 20s especially suck because it feels like all the decisions you make carry the weight of the entire world. People keep telling me they don't; I can't help but suspect that, secretly, they do.
Perhaps our entire 20s can best be summed up with one singular, rather annoying symbol. Get ready. It's a classic. Here it is.
This week, Throwback Thursday sort of speaks for itself. This song is simply the best song ever to sing aloud, really loud, in an East Village bar surrounded by all your closest friends.
Unfortunately, because Google owns YouTube - now only mere steps away from owning literally everything in the world - I couldn't find an embeddable version of the official video for the song. But this version is amazing, because 1.) Who doesn't love Reba McEntire? 2.) Toward the beginning, Kelly sings: "It wasn't long 'til I called her mine." Wait, what? Is Kelly a big ole closeted lezzie? It would make sense. We can only hope.
So remember like a month ago when I posted that embarrassing photo of myself from my 13th birthday party? You know: bangs, bad jewelry, Backstreet Boys cake. I wrote then that screenprinting on a pastry was "awesome" and that I would love to have a cake with Lady Gaga on it for my 24th birthday.
Well, my friend M came through with fucking cupcakes with Lady fucking Gaga fucking screenprinted on them. Here's a side-by-side, as promised.
Um, weird, right? The saddest thing about this comparison is that my hair only looks marginally better in the left photo. I need a haircut, y'all. Here's a closeup of the cupcake since you probs can't see it that well.
Bam, motherfuckers. My friends rock.
A few life updates, more for my benefit than yours.
1. The Gaga concert was transcendent. So transcendent that I'm having great difficulty writing about it. Suffice it to say: I laughed, I cried, I jumped up and down, I closed my eyes and felt the energy of the room pumping in my blood, I danced, and my boobs almost fell out of my strapless dress. And when I walked out of Radio City, I felt like myself for the first time in months and months.*
2. The hair bow tattoo is a definite go. I went with J on Saturday to a consultation at Brooklyn Adorned and we are both getting tats on the same day in March. It's going on the inside of my left wrist. I'm very excited.
3. On the way back to Manhattan after my tattoo consult, I saw Rich, the writer of FourFour, on the L train!!!! It was my first (semi)celebrity sighting that I actually cared about enough to try to talk to the person. He was very nice and took my blogging card (yes, I have those). I was (too) nerdily excited. I of course told him how much I love Winston.
4. Last night was my co-birthday blowout bash with my friend B. She turned 25 on Jan. 15, and my 24th birfday was last week, so we just decided to mash 'em together for a big blowout night at Solas in the East Village. It was amazing. I counted, and all together, about 23 people came out to celebrate with us. It was such an amazing New York night; I was surrounded by people I love, and when Bad Romance played, I got to re-live a bit of the concert energy from a couple nights before. Pokerface also played, and Z and I danced up and down the stairs. Natch.
Today is my birthday. I'm twenty four. TWENTY FUCKING FOUR. As many hours as there are in one day, I've lived that many years. You may recall that I announced a couple months ago that Lady Gaga is performing at Radio City Music Hall tonight. I am already prepared: brown hair bow, fishnets, new dress, Art Deco necklace, studded boots and eye liner await my gracious donning.
In honor of my first live Gaga experience, today's Throwback Thursday goes allllll the way back to April 2008, when Gaga released her first single as a solo artist: Just Dance. I didn't like Gaga at this point - in fact, I don't think I had even heard of her - and she didn't really start growing on me until last summer, more than a year after the song came out. But listening to it now, it seems like old school Gaga, or something, which is ridiculous since she's such a new artist. But compared to her tracks on The Fame Monster, it somehow seems like a really old song.
It's definitely not my favorite song on The Fame, but I decided on it because it was the first one released, and it was a huge, ginormous hit. Instead of posting the official music video - which, BTW, I feel doesn't do the song any justice because her inspiration for writing the song was her crazy nights going out in NYC, and the video takes place at, like, some lame house party in LA - I am posting her live performance of the song on So You Think You Can Dance? from fall 2008. I was living in Alabama at the time, and I watched this show religiously every week with Schmom B., so I saw this performance as it happened. I remember actually saying to my mom, "What the fuck?? Who is this bitch? She's not a good dancer and her singing is just sub-par."*
This barely even seems like the same person performing. True, her budget was much smaller back then, but even her face looks different. Her body looks a bit stouter. I mean, this was almost two years ago so it's definitely possible that her look has changed. But that's no defense for those shoes. I mean what the hell? Neon highlighter wedge sandals? Hell. To the naw.
*Yes, I used those actual words, because Schmom and I are tight like that.
I recently read this feature in New York Magazine on punk goddess Patti Smith's new memoir Just Kids, which she wrote about the time she spent running around New York in her 20s (the 1970s) with her once-lover-turned-gay-best-friend (yep) and fellow artist Robert Mapplethorpe. If you have any free time, it's worth investing it in this story. This woman doesn't let a word escape her lips that is not thoughtful and poetic. She's 62 and claims to still be working to create her great life's work. Living and working as a "creative" 20something in New York in 2010, I of course found the piece interesting as a comparative study.
In addition to loving the story, I have become obsessed with this photograph. I have looked at it for at least an hour. As I flipped through other pages in the magazine, I found myself compelled to turn back to this one page, just to stare at this one photograph.
The caption below the photo reads: Smith and Mapplethorpe on their West 23rd Street fire escape, 1971.
I'm obsessed with it for several reasons. 1. Everything about it screams New York. And not the new New York, but the old New York; the New York we'll never get back, the New York of the pre-fame artist, the New York of Andy Warhol and Janis Joplin, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, renting out rooms in Chelsea Hotel and living off whatever money they could make at their counter jobs, doing drugs and smoking cigs and drinking and creating amazing art just because they wanted to create. 2. Every time I look at it, I see something new. It took me several views to realize that Robert's right foot is actually not touching the fire escape. It looks like he's levitating, which seems appropriate. Writing this just now, I notice that Patti's fly is unzipped. XYZ Patti! 3. It was totally candid. 4. They're clearly fucking badasses and I want to be them.
I feel that I am entering into a new stage of my life where I want to explore everything and try everything. I want to listen to every kind of music that exists (just because). I want to read a gazillion books (just because). I want to stand around outside bars on the Lower East Side and smoke menthols, (just because I do it sometimes when I drink, and I always want to be those beautiful punk girls who let the smoke glide between their thick red lips while they talk). I want to get tattoos and then sort of regret them later (but not really because I'll just remember wanting to memorialize something that was important to me at the time). I want to make new friends, some of whom I'll never forget (and others I'll never remember). I want to write until I pass out. I want to use art to celebrate where I'm from. In short, I want to recreate (my version of) Patti's New York.
I want to remember that one day, I will look back on these young minutes and realize how special they were, and how important. I can't know now why they're important, but one day, if I'm real lucky, I will.
"...[Patti] was in the room in the Chelsea when Kris Kristofferson played “Me and Bobbie McGee” for Janis Joplin in her easy chair.
'I was there for those moments,' writes Smith, 'but so young and preoccupied with my own thoughts that I hardly recognized them as moments.'"
One of my favorite things about being home in the South is spending time with Queenie, my family's kitty cat. I usually refer to her as Tha Queen B, and I spend most of my time at home trying to get her to love me. The following is typical Queen B/Meghan behavior, concluding with her reaching the crest on her bell curve of annoyance with me.
1. I try to get Tha Queen B to pose for the camera. She is squirmy in resistance.
2. Success, bitch!
3. She slinks away and shuns me for the great humiliation I have caused her.
4. I am sad and filled with remorse.
5. I prepare a sneak attack to gain her affections back.
6. She is alerted to my presence, despite my amazing fish disguise. (???)
7. Maximum annoyance achieved.
Editor's note: Upon further review, I think this post probably makes me look like a crazy fucking cat lady. And I'm OK with it.
I haven't been sleeping well in New York recently. My roommate has been home a lot and I have this psychological thing where even if she's not being loud and I can barely tell she's home at all, I know she's home, and that makes me antsy and anxious and I can't sleep well.
So naturally, when I came home to Bama Friday, after getting up at 5:30 a.m. to make my flight, I was exhausted and took a mid-afternoon nap. It was a nap for the win (FTW), or what I prefer to call a nap to the face.
This is why.
Because that's what I look like when I wake up from a nap to the face. My hair is fucked and my face is barely recognizable and - as I so helpfully point out in the bottom photo - I have a big mascara smear mysteriously located at least one full inch from my eye.
When I looked at myself in the mirror, my thought process went something like:
1. FUCK. Whoooooooa. Damn girl. Rough.
2. Ooooh! I should blog photos of how shitty I look.
Currently re-considering the wisdom of this sleepy decision.
One of the things I find most nebulous about being a blogger is how much personal stuff I should share with the rest of the Internet. I've written about bad dates I've been on, amazing nights that can only happen in New York, heartwrenching depression brought on by my break-up, and moving moments in others' lives that brought tears to my eyes. I write about all these things because I literally don't know what else I'm supposed to do. Writing has always been and will always be the only way I really know how to express adequately my version of the human experience.
Yesterday, my grandmother passed away. She had Parkinson's Disease for several years before that, and we basically watched her fade away over the past couple of years. She was my only remaining living grandparent. She was 82 years old. She had three children, one of whom is my beloved Schmom B. She had three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She was sweet and beautiful. Here she is. I called her Mema.
Isn't she pretty? This photo was taken while my family, friends and I stood outside Taylor Grocery in Taylor, Mississippi waiting for a table for my college graduation dinner in May 2008. At this point, she was shaking because of the Parkinson's, but she could still walk around and do stuff pretty much on her own. It's really my last significant memory of her being self-sufficient and out in the world. When she passed yesterday, she was confined to a wheelchair and not really able to eat or do anything for herself anymore. We begin life as babies, and if we are among the lucky ones, we end it as them as well.
The last time I saw her was on Christmas Day, just a few weeks ago. She said a couple things to me that were so poignant and painfully beautiful that I debated for a long time whether I wanted to write an essay based entirely on these few words. I still haven't decided, but I feel comfortable sharing them here now. I feel like I need to share them, because I feel like they represent the person she was.
When I walked into the house she and my Papa shared for at least the past 23 years - they were married for more than 50 before he passed away in 2003 - she was sitting in her wheelchair in the kitchen. She was shaking pretty badly but she still reached her hand to me as I went to hug her gently. As I hugged her, I said, "Hey Mema, how are you doin'? You look good. You feelin' OK?" I never really know how to talk to old or sick people, which is something I have always disliked about myself. My face hovered close to hers and she looked directly in my eyes and said, "This isn't contagious, you know." Then her voice tinkled with laughter, weak but real.
My heart broke a little bit. On the one hand, I admired her for still being able to tell a joke, despite her condition. On the other hand, I realized that she wasn't really joking at all. She was always more concerned about the comfort of everyone else than she ever was about herself. And I could hear the loneliness in her voice. It was that palpable loneliness that is not linguistically replicable, but beats under every vocal chord. I cannot tell you what it sounds like or feels like or looks like. Writing is failing me here.
After we ate our Christmas meal and opened our presents, my parents and I were getting ready to head back home. I reached down to hug her, this time more tightly, because I had a feeling I might not see her alive again. She grasped my hand in hers, and it stopped shaking. Just for a few moments, the shaking stopped. I told her I loved her very much. She looked at me and said, "I love you, too. Maybe next year we'll all be healthy."
My heart broke the rest of the way. Even after several years of illness, and being so aware of her sickness and how it affected everyone else around her, she still had this hope in her heart, this seemingly unwavering belief, that we would all be together again for Christmas the next year. After 83 years of life, she seemed to have no concept of giving up, or of not being around to enjoy Christmas dinner. I knew that what she said was very unlikely, if not nearly impossible, but at the same time I felt inspired by her resilience. If she could live so long and endure so much pain and still think that way, then I can certainly find my way through to the other side of my own problems and survive. More than that - I can live, and love others, and love myself, and breathe hope into my heart forever.
Lots of people might balk that I am writing about such personal moments in such a public sphere, but that's just what my life is. For whatever reason, I feel compelled to create work - essays, blog posts, plays, poems - out of my personal experiences, with the implicit hope that other people will read it. I want to connect with other people and effect them. I can't say how exactly, but I do. I just want to effect the world.
And I want other people to know what happy memories I have of Mema. I want people to know that I remember this one Christmas when I was real little, my mom packed pillows around my body and put me in a homemade Santa suit, and I was so fat that I couldn't walk and I just fell down on my face in my grandparents' house and everyone just laughed and laughed and laughed. This other time, when I was in high school, my mom, Mema and I were watching Elf one Christmas and whenever that scene happened when Will Farrell belches really loudly at the dinner table, Mema just laughed and laughed and laughed. And anyone who knows me understands now where I get my warped sense of humor, and my strong penchant slash skill for burping.
I remember playing Uno with her on the couch, and Sequence with her at the kitchen table. We like card and board games in my family. I remember her laugh and how she always used to call me "hun." I remember how she always used to greet me at Christmas by coming outside her house and standing in her driveway with her arms open, expecting a big hug. I remember how she smelled. I remember how she always used to say "shoot" through her smile after she had a laughing fit. She was very Southern.
I am going home today to be with my family and attend Mema's funeral. I really hate funerals. Like a lot of things about Western culture, I just don't get it. They seem to never have anything to do with the actual life of the person being mourned. It seems like every funeral I've ever been to has been basically the same experience, which is wrong, because no two people are alike. Perhaps that is why I write; I want to create something unique so that I can pass on memories and important experiences to other people. Isn't that what a funeral should really be like, in theory?
So here you go Mema. This is my funeral for you. I'll be there Sunday, crying and laughing with everyone else, but just know that I've already committed my heart to my own memorial for you. This is it. I hope you liked it. I love you.
In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself: must I write?
Like most people, I have a lot of random thoughts all the time. Sometimes I tweet them, and sometimes I write them down in a notebook or on my iPhone, and sometimes I just keep them to myself, only to mourn them later when I forget them. For those rare times that I find my thoughts are publish-worthy but not Twitter-worthy, I think I should be able to put them here. I'm allowed to do that because it's my blog. So there.
Pretty girls never really know how pretty they are. If they know they're pretty, and even if they know they're really pretty, they can still never know exactly what they look like to other people, because they are not super-human. Even they, in all their splendiferous* physical beauty, will never be able to step outside their own consciousness and see themselves as others see them. More specifically, they will never be able to see themselves as heterosexual men who want to get in their pants see them.
Why do people say "ouch" and "ow" as opposed to, I don't know, "raj" and "yag," when they feel pain? Like why are these the chosen words we all relate to pain? They're not even real words - they're just exclamations. As a cunning linguist, I prefer to just say "fuck" and "goddamnit" when I feel pain, because at least those are real words.
There's a reason I've always had a problem with Christianity, and my reason is this: I've never been able to marry myself to the idea that what I need to achieve true personal happiness is anything separate and outside of myself. And the more I live, the more I think I'm probably right.
What if I drop a piece of trash onto the subway tracks carelessly, and a rat mistakes it for food, eats it, and then dies of internal hemorrhaging? Is that my fault, or the rat's?
The thing I hate about winter is that there's no sounding rain. Lots of snow, plenty of snow, but I miss the pounding of the water against my panes. The sound of the rain is like the forward motion of time - it never stops, until it does, and then you have no choice but to accept the silence.
Why do people go crazy? Like, legitimately, what causes psychosis? I see plenty of psychotic people in the city every single day, and I always wonder this. Like, were they always mentally ill? Or did they live as normal children, building houses out of cards and playing with toy trains and dressing their paper dolls? And if they were normal children, where, when and why did the psychotic break occur? Perhaps one day I will be crazy. Sub-thought: Craziness is really good at hide-and-seek in New York. Just this morning I was on the train with a woman who looked totally normal for the duration of our ride together, just standing near the doors, reading her book. Then right before we got to the Union Square stop, she started talking to herself and thanking people who were not, in fact, present.
I do not and will not ever trust people who voluntarily forgo the consumption of cheese. If you're lactose intolerant, that's one thing; you receive one sympathy vote. But if you opt out of eating cheese due to your own free will, I cannot ever trust you.
The scariest thing about the human experience is knowing that you have the power and the ability to end your own life at any given moment. I often find myself thinking about this when I see subway trains barreling toward me. The thought paralyzes me with fear.
Microwaves. We keep the same basic technology responsible for atom bombs and cancer in our homes and it is considered totally normal. WTF?
The longer I live and love, the more convinced I become that people definitely exist on different Planes of Happiness. Not like the kind that fly in the air, but like the kind in geometry. There's a reason I am 23, single, broke, living in a railroad apartment in Manhattan, putting up with a lot of inconveniences, losing sleep so that I can write, feeling like I do nothing but flail around aimlessly hoping I do something right - while others my age are engaged, married, pregnant, having babies, buying houses, and feeling very happy in their settled version of adulthood. And the reason is this: People live on different Planes of Happiness. My friends and I - having given up so much of the stability and security enjoyed my so many of our peers - require more for our happiness. We pursue our dreams - personal, professional, and otherwise - because we demand, for our own happiness, a different level of love, friendship, accomplishment, creation and overall existence. This is why my core group of friends does not budge, but boyfriends and outer-circle friends come and go. If we're not on the same plane, it becomes apparent over time, and everything dissolves.
MRIs are the fucking scariest. thing. ever. I just had my first one recently, and it was fucking frightening. I am 100% convinced that, had they access to the technology, Medieval Torture Creative Directors (MTCD) would have lusted over this device. You know that scene from The Exorcist? Before they realize Regan's actually inhabited by a demon, her mother takes her to the doctor and they do an MRI of her brain to check for any abnormalities. Mine was just like that, minus the God-awful neck injection that must have been a regular occurrence in the 70s. A lot of people think the point of that movie is something about religion and God and Satan or something, but they are wrong: the point is that after Regan got the MRI, her symptoms only got worse, which suggests that the MRI machine actually serves as a conduit for demons who like to inhabit human bodies. After my experience, I can totally vouch for this.
About 95% of the time, you read things that you will probably never remember. The remaining 5%, you will be lucky if you read things that you'll likely never forget. And when one of these things also involves (The Artist Formerly Known As) Prince, you know it's fucking over.
Lauren over at Hipstercrite wrote such a piece. Here it is. When you are finished reading, come back. It's OK. I'll wait. Tick tock. Tick tock.
See? Amazing, right? Basically offers a life-changing perspective, no? Never has an essay about Prince's bush been so insightful and hilarious. At least, I don't think such an essay exists; if it does, I will immediately marry said person, regardless of gender or species.* I'm serious. I'll do it, if he/she/it will have me.
Her ramblings on Prince are just one example of the hilarious insight Lauren has about the tumultuous goings-on of 20-something existence. Her story is also inspiring - she moved from upstate NY to Los Angeles in pursuit of her own form of happiness, and when she didn't find it, she uprooted again and moved to Austin, TX, knowing not a single soul. Going through one such move myself, I can speak for how hard it is, but I can't say with any certainty whether or not I would be able to do it twice. But this girl did, which is one reason I so look up to her and her work so much.
For all these reasons and more - Prince pubes aside - I was thrilled when Lauren agreed to guest-write a post for me, in which she reflects on the guys she's dated and how she learned to love herself, with all the honest and hilarious insight I've come to expect from the Texan transplant. Be sure to check out my piece on her blog, too, lest you make a whole gaggle of doves cry.
A few years back, I came across a Craigslist Best-Of post titled, "The Girls I Have Dated". In it, the author, who is on a four-year sabbatical from sex since his "psycho-bitch mother" passed away, reflects on all the women he has dated and/or slept with. Each woman is listed by name followed by a sentence or two about their physical features, their sexual abilities or lack there of, and the author's feelings towards them. The author does nothing to mask his disdain for most of these women, commenting again and again on his lack of respect for the female gender. It's easy to hate this man early in the post, but as the list gets longer, the descriptions get more raw, more tale-telling. By the end, you see an aged, lonely man who has pushed away everyone in his life.
Inspired by my dating experiences in Los Angeles, I created my own list and posted it on my blog titled, "The Boys I Have Dated". Though my list was nowhere near as long or hateful, it was often speckled with venomous attacks from a broken-hearted, emotionally immature young woman. At the time, writing the list was therapeutic for me. It enabled me to finally say all the things I wanted to say to these men that had hurt me.
Here are some snippets:
"You stopped me at a Subway Restaurant in Koreatown. You said my smile made you need to talk to me. You gave me your card and SURPRISE! you were an actor. You were beautiful. 100% conventionally good looking. You weren’t my type but I didn’t mind the idea of having you as arm candy. Soon after I discovered how stupid you were. We went out on my birthday but I didn’t tell you it was my birthday. I didn’t want anyone to know. We had a good time in Downtown, but I was more interested in listening to the new Arcade Fire album that was playing on the loud speakers than talking to you. We fooled around that evening and my only thought was, “you have to be kidding me”. You made noises like a retarded monkey and I was slightly embarrassed for you. You were very sweet to me but I no longer trusted any man. Finally one day, right in the middle of fooling around, you accused me of faking it. Maybe I was, but that was no excuse to banish me to my own couch. That was it. The last thing you said to me as you walked out the door was, “What’s the difference between a PC and a Mac and can you get on the internet with a Mac?” I wasn’t too sad to see you go. I think you’re dating a teenager now which is good. Someone more on the same intellectual wavelength as you."
"...I finally heard the standard, “I don’t want a girlfriend right now” and we parted ways. I don’t really miss having to go to vegan restaurants with you. You also sucked in the sack (maybe you were self-conscious about having a small d--k). Look, it’s not a race. You had the sensuality of a goat. Maybe it’s from not getting enough meat.
"...On the second date, as I was getting in my car to leave, you tackled me and we made out in the front seat, our feet dangling out, passersby wondering what the hell was going on. We saw each other for a month. You seemed really into me and I was indifferent. The sad thing is, I never really felt anything towards you. I looked at you lying next to me and my mind would go blank. You started to pull away like they all do and I was just so damn tired to fight anymore. You and your friends have a band and I’ve debated on texting you out of the blue to tell you that your music sucks ass."
"...What a sweet, dear man you were….and horribly desperate. I wasn’t ready to date anyone yet because of "Bill" but that didn’t matter, you freaked me out hardcore. You were kind and generous, but from Arkansas, Republican, and 35. After a week of knowing you, I heard through the grapevine you were calling me your girlfriend and “the one”. You’d get mad if I didn’t call you every day and I was doing everything to you that I hated about what men did to me. I think you were ready to settle down and I definitely wasn’t the one. You were also more effeminate than me. You loved your “mani’s and pedi’s!” Sometimes when I hear a stupid John Mayer song, you pop into my head (which is another reason why we wouldn’t have worked out)."
As you can see, I was one bitter little girl!
As my list got longer and more angry, I reflected on what it was telling me. I was putting all the blame on these men, but maybe I was making bad choices because I wasn't happy with myself.
So, after five years of living in Los Angeles, I decided it was time to move on. I packed my bags and drove to Austin, TX with no plan, no connections. I quickly built a life there, and I quickly noticed that I had no desire to continue the list. I started making better choices in who I dated. I went out with an older gentleman who treated me like a queen. He ultimately gave me a line about not wanting a girlfriend right now (dude, you're 38...really?), but we're great friends now. After that, I dated a lovable ADHD-riddled spaz who'd do anything for me, but only if he could play on his iPhone the entire time. We just broke up, but we talk every day. I have no interest in tearing them down. They are good men. Every single man I put on the list is now a dear friend, and I've had to constantly go back and edit the list. In fact, the list has been carefully put away, considering about 50% of my former flames may or may not occasionally read my blog. When before I wanted to shout from the mountain top every name of every man who has ever done me wrong, now I understand that having some secrets is not such a bad idea.
Sometimes I like to pull the old list out. Laugh at the girl who used to point fingers at everyone but herself. Lots of times I don't understand who she is - why she was so angry and making such dumb ass decisions.
All I know is that it took learning to love myself a little more to show me the path to finding a loving and healthy relationship.
I hope the Craiglist Best-Of author learned how to love himself too.
*If this esssay does exist, it was probably penned by Chuck Klosterman, who I have already openly professed my love for in a very embarrassing manner
At least, that's what I choose to believe. Lady Gaga has been going without pants for more than a year now, and this weekend, hundreds of New Yorkers realized she's probably onto something. Of course I had to be there.
There you have it, ladies and gents. Yours truly, without pants - fear not, the undergarments are there, you just can't see them in this photo - in the New York City subway. Also, take note of the police officer immediately behind me to my left. They were all just kind of standing around, stunned. There were just too many of us. What were they going to do? We were a lovey dovey pantsless mob.
Yeah, it was a little cold or whatever, but don't you remember HLLWN? I'm basically old hat at NYC pantslessness at this point. Oh, don't act like you've forgotten.
In all fairness, Improv Everywhere has been doing the No Pants Subway Ride for about nine years. They started it in NYC, so it's entirely possible that a 14-year-old Stefani Germanotta saw the inaugural pantsless subway ride and thought, "Yes. How brilliant! When I become famous, I will thank these geniuses forever for making me lots and lots of money."
So normally I like to write my posts ahead of time so I can have them ready to go and up bright and early each morning. But last night, instead of writing, I laid (lay? lain? lied? fuck it) in bed with my twobesties and ate homemade fried chicken and cookies. THAT'S RIGHT, HOMEMADE. There might have also been mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole (or as you Yankees like to call it, "candied yams"... amateurs), but I'll never tell. We watched The Big Bang Theory, a show I had never even heard of until a few weeks ago, when J started tweeting about it like a mad woman talks to her cats. It's really funny, and a pretty brilliant show, due in no small part to Jim Parsons, a good ole Texas boy who plays a socially awkward, near-Aspergers, adorable, lovable 20something who is also from Texas. I basically want to marry him.
Anyway, here is a photo illustration of what I did last night in lieu of writing an actual post. You're welcome.
Well, they say that every day is an opportunity to learn something new, and today I took that opportunity and learned something new about myself. And that thing is that I am fucking terrible at Photoshop. Oh, and in case it's not really obvious, that is what I look like when I am sighing contentedly. This could also be interpreted as me sleeping, while visions of fried chicken, cold milk and chocolate chip cookies dance in my head. So then J and Z are watching me sleep, which is creepy, and they are apparently some combination of suspicious and completely apathetic about it.
So Thursday was halfway gone when I realized that I now allegedly have a blog "series" that I have to "maintain" in which I "write" posts dedicated to "music" from days gone by. Initially, I planned to just post Throwback Thursday on Friday, which would have been a total cop-out and an easy way for me to not actually have to write a Friday post. So, I decided to just bite the blog bullet and write two posts in one day.*
In honor of writing a second post in one 24-hour span, I have chosen Britney's Oops!... I Did It Again, the song that officially** holds the title for Best Song Whose Name Contains An Exclamation Point. As I was discussing with a friend very recently (because we often talk about our favorite pop icons from their glory days, you know, from before their I'm-bald-and-bashing-car-windows-with-umbrellas phases), there really is no good reason this song was so popular. The video was the cheesiest thing ever created, not in like a good way, and the song lyrics are quantifiably terrible, and Britney traipses around in a red latex jumpsuit that foreshadows only the worst of Lady Gaga's outfits. And yet, it was a huge hit. Totally mysterious, not unlike most aspects of Britney's impenetrable inner life.
Instead of putting you through the painful rounds of the Titanic references in the official video, I have chosen to post her live performance of the song from the 2000 MTV VMAs. This performance isn't nearly as infamous as her Slave performance from the next year, but I have always secretly liked it more. Here's the video, followed by my favorite parts, broken down by seconds.
:12 Britney starts singing live. If only we had known then how truly lucky we were to witness such a rare event. :49 Britney grabs the rail violently and drops it. :54 Some dude in the audience yells either "YEAH BRITNEY!" or "GET IT BRITNEY!" It's hard to tell which one. He's so committed to it. I imagine him being either the horniest straight or the queeniest gay in the audience, and also way ahead of his time. 1:01 Britney's tear-away suit starts to pre-emptively come off her body. Little bastard. I remember people talking about how this ruined the whole performance because it gave away her surprise striptease. I never understood this logic. It never detracted from the performance for me; I mean, you still got to see her rockin' bod, so stop fucking complaining. 1:07 Said rockin' bod makes its first appearance. Thus begins the best decade of pre-adolescent eating disorders ever. 1:27 Britney raises her arms above her head to signal that THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF MY NEW SONG PAY ATTENTION Y'ALL. She is also still singing live at this point. Take note. 1:36 Choreography officially begins. I could try to hide the fact that I learned this entire dance, but I won't. 1:36 This is also the point when her voice-over track starts playing, but you can still hear her singing underneath it. Amazing. Like we wouldn't notice that there are now two Britneys singing instead of one. 1:55 Britney starts writhing in a sea of gay men. This is absolutely a pre-cursor to the Slave video, which would come out the next year. 2:07 The camera zooms in on Britney's hips/ass while she does a shimmy, and somewhere in the universe a star dies from related causes. 2:17 Britney does a serious, hardass Harlem street move and drops her hands to her muthafuckin knees and pops her booty. Another star dies. 2:24 Britney gets inside the space egg and poses with her back arched, while singing, "You see my problem is this..." To which we respond, "What? Your problem is that your body looks too good? Were we supposed to notice you have a hot body? Honestly, it's not that noticeable. Wait... have you gained some weight?" 2:52 Britney does a subtle but effective double-forward hip thrust. Yeah, I noticed and learned this part of the dance too. 3:19 Britney's live mic comes back to the front as she screams "WHOOOO!" to signal that the frenetic dance break is about to begin. 3:31 The music gets more beat-heavy for about two to three seconds, and Britney faces the back and shakes her ass to match. Not sure why, but there is no camera zoom here. 3:47 Close-up on Britney's face, and we really see her straining here. She is singing, y'all. You can't hear it, but goddamnit, girl is singing. 3:52 The best go-from-standing-to-crouching (I think they call this a level change) ever in the history of dance occurs. I did this in my room over and over and over again. 3:52 - end THE BEST 30 SECONDS OF BRITNEY'S LIFE. 4:08 Britney coos, "Oooooh, I did it again," before punching her fist toward the heavens as if to say, "I did it! Again! I made mere mortals scream and cry and question their sexualities! I made legions of women hate their abdominals! I made real singers question their talents! And while I was at it I killed some stars! Oops! I did it again! But the 'oops' part is just for coyness because I totally meant to do it yeeeeehaw!"
With that, I will conclude by sky-punching and saying: Ooooh I did it again. I blogged twice in one day. What about it, bitches?
*This kind of sucks because now I have no fucking clue what to write for tomorrow **Not officially at all
I don't really know how, in 2010, pop-up ads are still something we - as an evolved human race that can take, e-mail and then tweet photos with our phones - have to deal with. Alas, such is life, and recently I discovered this gem hiding underneath my browser window, which was filled with tabs researching mandrake roots, Nelly and probably hipsters.
Now, why would I want to do crazy things like "click here" and "find out what my credit score is" if you're telling me ahead of time that it's going to suck? If you're already frowning about my unknown credit score, mysterious Internet digitized creatures, then how do you think it's going to make me feel?
The most ironic thing is that I don't even know if I have a credit score or not, because I've never actually owned a credit card. One time I applied for one through my bank and got a big fat rejection letter in the mail, which caused a real life (RL) frowny face, not unlike this.
Now I ask you, dear readers: how could anyone deny that face a credit card, or really anything else? I mean honestly. Look at that punum. No, you know what? No. No. Talking about this just makes me very angry.
I would be so fucking good at using a credit card. The bank people don't even know how good I would be. Mostly because even I don't know how good I would be. My credit score would probably be "awesome." No numbers needed. It would just say "awesome."
Yeah, fuck that bank. And even more broadly, fuck being an adult, which is a state of existence requiring that I acquire a credit card, and makes me feel begrudgingly incompetent for not having one.
I was sitting on the bus recently when I absent-mindedly looked down at the back of my metro card and was quite (pleasantly) surprised to find this. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me to get over my poetry shyness.
What the fuck is a mandrake root*? They should just start folding up old metro cards and stuffing them inside fortune cookies. God knows there are enough Chinese restaurants in the city, and I'm sure they would all appreciate the free wisdom nuggets. And then in return the MTA could hand them out on the subways. Genius.
Plus, I would much rather read John Donne after consuming my sesame chicken than a poorly-constructed sentence telling me I will have "many years of long fortune."
Although it is true that I would welcome such a fortune, especially with the addition of the ever-popular "in bed" at the end.
So there's this chain of restaurants in the city called Vynl, and their claim to fame is that they're music-themed. They use old record sleeves to hold their menus, their drinks are vaguely punny and music related (read: the Fiona Apple-tini, the Pearis Hilton, the Purple Rain), and their decor tends to generally remind one of a disco ball. There's one in Hell's Kitchen and one in Chelsea, the main difference being that the latter is only marginally gayer.
Anyway, the best thing about these restaurants is that each bathroom is unisex and dedicated to a different musical artist. The bathroom is usually playing the music of the artist, there's a huge tile mosaic on the wall depicting the artist, and sometimes - if you're lucky - there is a doll or some other sort of miniature version of the artist. The first time I went to Vynl, I had the pleasure of using the Justin Timberlake bathroom. And as I'm sure you might have guessed, I find few things more pleasurable than having Justin watch over me while I pee. However, he may have actually been one-upped recently, when I had the thrill of walking into the bathroom and discovering this.
That's right. It's a huge science-project-style diorama devoted to Nelly. Except this diorama is better than any diorama you ever feebly created in middle school, because it contains the following: a doll of Nelly - complete with tattoos, doo rag, cheek band-aid, baggy sweatpants, and huge necklace that reads "#1" - some life-size blingbling necklaces draped behind the doll, and a large glass number one. In case you can't see all these things, I made sure to get a close-up shot. Duh.
Do you remember Nelly? Of course you do. How could anyone not? (Just in case you don't, click here, here, here or here.) He basically defined the 2000-2003 period in American pop culture. Or at least in my version of it. I am not ashamed to say that I owned his album Nellyville, and listening to Hot in Herre and Pimp Juice swiftly recalls the summer before my junior year of high school, when I blasted that album on repeat while I drove to and from dance team practices.
As per usual, I don't know why I love these things so much. But as I was peeing and staring in awe at the Nelly-rama directly across from me, some lyrics from Pimp Juice seemed to stand out in my head.
Bitches got the pimp juice too,
Come to think about it, dirty, they got more than we do...
They got mo' juice in they talk, got mo' juice in they walk,
They got mo' juice in they pants, Ooh goddamn!
This post ended up containing a lot more pee than I originally planned. Sorry about that. I just can't slow my roll.*
*And apparently neither can Nelly, because he's allegedly coming out with another album next year. Oh, I look forward to that shit. You know I do.
Disclaimer one: I don't write that much poetry, and I sort of cringe whenever I do. I don't think I'm particularly good at it, and I usually feel really embarrassed to share it with other people, and in general I like to leave its creation to the greats (or at least my favorites): cummings, Rilke and Eliot. But sometimes I feel inspired to write a poem, and when that happens, I do. Disclaimer two: I have never published a poem on my blog. This is the first time this has happened, and will probably be the last. Disclaimer three: I wrote this on the plane from New York to Alabama, when I was depressed and pining away for something that turned out to be living in my own heart. I missed home, yes, but I also was starved for a love I thought I could only find in the South; turned out, it was inside me all along. I read back over these words and they seem like something I wrote years ago, when in reality this poem is only two weeks old. I wanted to convey how I was feeling about home at the time, while also painting an accurate picture of what life in the South is like. I hope someone besides my mom thinks I may have accomplished these goals. Disclaimer four: I am not leaving New York.
The air hangs thick, the silence thicker,
And above dewed grass that's slick like molasses,
The darkness is a welcomed relief.
No buildings, no lights, no human graffiti,
Just stars, stars, stars,
And still, still, still-
I can actually feel my heartbeat slow.
When life demands a pause,
This place can deliver,
A twangy release from the push, from the go,
Like a rocking chair swaying in time.
Not just a place - it's a way of existing,
A real way of life, honest, strong and fulfilling,
The South just keeps calling me, "Come."
I'm reminded of youth, of driving and kissing;
My heart lurches backward, and stings in the present,
Because I desperately miss what before went unnoticed.
The smell of the wet,
That dew on the grass,
How impossibly, quietly, the wind stirs the trees -
But mostly I miss what no one can see:
The Southern life unexamined,
Worth living, and more,
Worth exulting and
Worthy of me.
Disclaimer five: I took that photo from the window of a plane from Birmingham to Memphis. On that flight, I saw the entire sunset from above the clouds and the South and all the rest of America. It was stunning, and more appropriately poetic than I could ever hope to recreate.
Well, 2010 is here. 2009 is officially over, and I'm really happy about it. A lot of people have been talking shit about 2009 on Twitter (for whatever reason), but I'm here to rep it. 2009 was a really hard year for me, and I went through a lot of emotional downs; but 2009 also brought me a lot of happiness, and I have no regrets, and I will always remember it as the year I moved to New York and learned a lot about myself. That said, I am very ready to put it behind me and move on to 2010, looking nowhere but forward.
The other day on the plane home from Alabama, I wrote a list of things I hope to accomplish in 2010. It ended up being 10 things, which gives it a nice ring: Top 10 in 0-10, or something. Here is the unedited list, in order.
1. To see my play produced.
2. To write an episode of a TV show and see it filmed
3. To make some money on my blog, somehow
4. To see my blog plugged in some major or semi-major news/blog outlet
5. To blog in some official capacity for another site
6. To find someone to love
7. To be and stay healthy
8. To travel outside the country
9. To build new friendships and foster the ones I have
10. To better my own version of the world through volunteering or helping people however I can
I think most of these are quite reasonable, and in my control. Some others will require a bit of divine intervention, or destiny, or fate, or what-have-you. I have lots of faith, and still foster the belief that everything happens for a reason and the universe operates toward a general greater good.