framing britney spears.

As it did for most people, Framing Britney Spears made me feel “some kind of way” and I’d like to take the time to discuss that here, thx.

Gird your loins, this is going to be a rant. I’ve thought about this for a few days and it really started to piss me off.

Watching Framing Britney Spears upset me a great deal. It was very good! But so, so upsetting. As I was watching it I had a hard time figuring out exactly why I was so upset. I even cried. My boyfriend was like, “Should we turn this off? Is this even healthy for you?” I couldn’t say.

But after…I was able to discern where my feelings were coming from.

Beyond sympathy for Britney, which I have a lot of and I do think she should be freed and simultaneously left alone to have fun and run around her backyard in a bikini with her sons in the sunshine until the end of eternity, I also felt sympathy for myself and other women my age and also women older than us and maybe ones like up to 10 years younger than us.

I think that covers everyone. If not please feel free to include yourself in my sympathy BECAUSE WE WERE WRONGED.

WE WERE SO WRONGED.

During my formative years at ages like 10 to 25, all day every day it was about whether or not women were “sluts,” based on what they were doing, wearing, or thinking. And women and girls lived in constant fear of being labeled “sluts” because once they had that label all hope of being taken seriously, listened to, respected, etc was completely dashed. Like once you got this label it was like a “thing” and people could completely disrespect you and you had zero credibility. It was like calling someone a witch. And they actually did mean “slut” centuries ago when they said “witch” but luckily they couldn’t kill you for being a “slut”in the late 90s/early 2000s…at least not in any kind of community organized way.

Or could they? Did I live to write this blog post? Or is this another dimension?

If you dressed or acted a certain way as a young woman people had the self righteous audacity to declare that you “weren’t girlfriend material” or “men would never respect you” or “no one will want to buy the cow if they can get the milk for free.”

Uhhh…what if I don’t WANT to be a girlfriend? Or what if I DID but I don’t want a BOYFRIEND that thought any of “this” <points to my outfit and my self and my life as I want to lead it> is a problem? Do you think I value “respect” that is based on these kinds of conditions? BECAUSE I DON’T.

AND I LOVE COWS AND HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING BEING VEGAN DUE TO MY LOVE FOR COWS BUT I WOULD MISS CHEESE BUT FREE CHEESE WOULDN’T MAKE ME VALUE COWS ANY LESS THIS IS THE LAMEST METAPHOR EVER UGH.

The late 90s and early 2000s were trash for women and the trashiest part is that we thought we were actually progressive at that time. Or did we?

The truth is no, I didn’t think we were progressive at the time but I was like 15 so what did I know. There wasn’t yet a word for “slut shaming” but I knew that was wrong and lame and never felt right when people did it. When kids in the hall at school or “journalists” in People magazine were like, “Look at her short skirt! She’s asking for it!” I wanted to be like, “Who the f*&K cares you idiots?!” Actually I didn’t just WANT to be like that I ACTUALLY SAID THAT but I was fighting that battle alone for a number of years and no one ever listened to me until like 2015…ALMOST TWO DECADES LATER, YOU GUYS.

I’m not saying that I’m like, the hipster of social justice for women and I invented slut shaming or knew about it before it was cool. I’m just saying there was OBVIOUSLY a problem and we all SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

Like, leave women alone! Who gives a shit what they’re wearing! Just because they’re wearing anything in particular doesn’t mean they’re a “slut” and if they are, ALSO WHO CARES. GET OVER IT. WHY IS THIS A THING PEOPLE THINK THEY CAN HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT?! And before you’re like, “well people can have opinions,” please take into consideration that this is a DANGEROUS AND DAMAGING OPINION and essentially ruined Britney Spears’ life and the lives of many others when it comes down to it. Like be careful who you throw your ridiculous AND RUDE opinions at because THEY HAVE CONSEQUENCES. This is the same thing as saying people can have “freedom of religion” and are allowed to practice it at will when all religion is very dangerous and manipulative and preys on the weak and stole and hoarded all the money and knowledge from the majority of people in various societies for centuries but that’s a conversation for another time.

The first time someone called me a slut was on the school bus in 4th grade. At first I doubted they knew what it meant, because I didn’t know what it meant and I was obviously a vocabulary genius so if it WAS a real thing I figured I would have known. Until this shrill little brat followed it up with, “My mom said that’s what you are.” BITCH, your MOM said that?! What the heck is wrong with you people?! I am 10 years old!

No idea if she made this up or not. Maybe her mom didn’t even say it. Or maybe she DID…4th grade seems a little young for that type of judgement but…I don’t know. We’ve done worse and more offensive things to our young women when they were even younger. It’s a losing battle we’re fighting around here. Or at least it was for a long time, even when we thought it was over because all the moms that were feminists in the 70s said it was.

These were the same moms that were basically telling me that I was slutty and a pawn to the patriarchy for being a cheerleader. This one I am NOT making up and remembering perfectly correctly because I was a little older then, I think around 12. I was at dinner at a friend’s house. At their huge dinner table, in front of her brothers AND ALSO HER DAD, and this “feminist” mom said, “Don’t you think cheerleading is demeaning? Running around in a short skirt and basically being a slave to the boys that play sports?.” It was so incredibly embarrassing and ridiculous. And the only thing I could think of to say was, “Well…I like it!”

BECAUSE I DID. IT WAS CHEERLEADING AND IT WAS FUN. I CAN BE CUTE AND LOOK CUTE AND HAVE FUN AND STILL BE A FEMINIST. I CHOOSE MY CHOICE. IT’S CALLED 3RD WAVE GO BACK TO COLLEGE AND LEARN IT BECAUSE YOU SUCK.

Hopefully she did. I wish the best for her expanded knowledge of feminism. We all need room and grace to grow and learn. And to do the work. But god DAMN I wish I didn’t have to listen to that ridiculous shit. I guess you could say it was a defining moment of my life though, in that it made me completely outraged and I never stopped being outraged but I also never stopped fighting against it.

Unfortunately along with the fight against it came…not fighting against it. Like when idiot preteen dudes would snap my bra or grab me in the hallway in middle school. Yes grab. They grabbed my ass! They grabbed my boobs! It was ridiculous. So much ridiculous, you guys. This topic makes me unable to stop saying “ridiculous.” But for whatever reason I felt like I couldn’t say or do anything. I felt like this was how it was and the price I paid for wearing whatever I felt like wearing and looking however I felt like looking. I had to pay the misogynist toll troll to continue existing in the world in the way that I chose.

DIDN’T POOR BRITNEY HAVE TO DO THE SAME?!

I remember everyone always talking about what she wore, or didn’t wear. About whether or not she was a “virgin.” WHY DID PEOPLE CARE ABOUT POP STARS BEING VIRGINS THAT IS PSYCHOTIC. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND PLZ MAKE IT STOP. Seeing this stuff in the documentary and remembering it happening, and looking at it through the lens of now, WAS MIND BLOWING. I couldn’t believe I kind of forgot that things used to be like that, and that people just accepted it.

In the end, they were able to turn this “slut” narrative they created against her so completely that they deemed her too “crazy” to take care of herself and her children. She is a creative genius and a highly experienced and talented business woman. She would have been fine. But they were able to do it because the world ate it up. They were like, “Yup, bitch is crazy. Let’s laugh at her as we burn down her life.” And then they did.

This isn’t even fully getting into the whole thing because I haven’t even talked about the mental health issues she may or may not have been suffering from that were never properly addressed, diagnosed one way or another, treated, or even given an OUNCE OF COMPASSIONATE CONSIDERATION. Like no wonder generations of women and actually maybe even just people overall were scared to talk about their feelings because once one person labels you “crazy” it makes it a ton harder to be a person in the world or get anything done.

The “slutty” narrative really hit home for me in a lot of ways as you can see but the mental illness part does too.

And it just makes me so mad. I guess that’s all I wanted to say. Like yeah, Britney got the worst of it. But we all suffered in that world. And some of us still suffer when accosted by people with that worldview. It’s not an acceptable way to be a dick anymore but it lingers. And it’s not cute.

SO STOP IT.

STOP IT NOW.

DO IT FOR BRITNEY.

the thanksgiving dilemma.

In April when all of this COVID stuff started and people were sad about not being able to get together for Easter, I was like “HAHA TOO BAD, EASTER SUX ANYWAY!” But now that it’s November and one of my favorite (although admittedly problematic) holidays is here, my mind and heart are consumed by the Thanksgiving dilemma.

The Thanksgiving dilemma is this: do I or don’t I go home for Thanksgiving?

A simple decision, of course.

JUST KIDDING IT’S NOT SIMPLE AT ALL.

I spent the better part of last week in a complete and utter frenzy. I only referred to it as a “frenzy” so it sounded fun and quirky to my boyfriend. It was actually a full on, days long panic attack.

It was incredibly difficult to decide what to do, as there were many factors and considerations and sources of information.

I was lucky enough to go home a ton of times over the summer and into the fall, when the “numbers” we’ve all grown to obsess over were down and things were a little calmer. I’m so happy I had the opportunity to do this, you don’t even know. Okay I’ll tell you: it was heaven on earth to go home all those times. I love home!

Yes I still refer to my parents’ house in Milford, NJ as “home.” Sue me.

So in considering if I should go home for Thanksgiving, one of my thoughts was, “I’ve already been home so much and it’s fine!”

But like…is it fine?

Then I decided I was going to get some COVID tests. We have them for free in Jersey City and I think it’s a great thing! And they should be free everywhere! MAKE THEM FREE NOW.

On Thursday last week I got a test, and I was planning on getting one on Tuesday 11/24. That seemed like enough time! Everyone I know that has gone back to work in person, mostly people who work in TV, get COVID tests weekly and then they are cleared to work. In my mind if a negative test was good enough for them and a green light to work, then it was good enough for me and a green light to go home.

BUT IT WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. As the days went by I saw more info graphics and articles shared and more memes about killing one’s grandma and I started to panic. I’m going to spare you and not share them here, but you can find them quickly if you look. Apparently even if you get a negative test it is NOT an “all clear” to go party with high risk people, like my grandma and uncle and my parents and my pregnant sister.

A few weeks ago it was my birthday, and I invited some friends to have outside drinks. One friend replied with, “We’re laying low until Thanksgiving so we can see my grandparents.” Of course I respected and honored their choice and would never mock it, but I did feel like it was unnecessarily cautious. The get together was on November 14th and Thanksgiving was so far away!

Narrator: Thanksgiving was NOT far away. Here comes the Thanksgiving dilemma!

In order for you to not catch COVID and not give it to other people, it’s recommended that you stay in your house and self quarantine for at least 14 days before getting together with people indoors. I think you can probably go for walks but you definitely can’t go out and have drinks, even if it’s outside. And you probably shouldn’t be going to workout classes, as I’ve been doing.

My friend was wise, and I totally blew it. Mostly because I’m bad at math.

The CDC actually says you should quarantine if you’ve been “in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.” But like, if you’re out in the world, HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW?!

So this realization coupled with the realization that a negative test isn’t a green light and compounded by all of the “you’re gonna kill your grandma” memes really set me over the edge. Like, pushed me to the brink of my very sanity. I was not well. In my mind. But like who is?

My main concern, as always, is NOT being sick myself, but in making someone else sick. OR, finding out I’m sick after I’ve been around people and then having to TELL THEM and have like a “SERIOUS CONVERSATION” about it. I want to avoid that at all costs. That sounds like my worst nightmare.

The fear of me getting it myself is far less than the fear of infecting someone else. THAT is the shit that keeps me up at night. And always has.

Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but I guess I will for what I think is a valuable comparison: I say “always has” because when I was single and dating and out in the world or whatever there was always the specter of STDs lurking in the background. And you had to have “the conversation.” And it was sickening and annoying.

(Side note: Don’t even get me started on how STDs are stigmatized and pretty much social suicide in our society for no good reason other than Puritanism and sex shaming and THE PATRIARCHY and if you get a cold or something and give it to someone there isn’t ANY social stigma and that doesn’t seem right. Like in both versions you got sick and someone else got sick from you. Either be okay with it or don’t be okay with it but please choose to give people a hard time about both illnesses equally if that’s what you’re gonna do. But that’s for another time.)

And if we didn’t have “the conversation” it would still be hanging over me, stressing me out, making me feel weird, causing me many sleepless nights. I really let the rumination get to that level. It added to my obsession with going to the doctor. I got so many tests and so frequently that my insurance company had to ask WTF was wrong with me. It was in a letter, I threw it out.

What I’m saying is, if you don’t have sex you won’t get STDs. It’s that simple. Of course there are ways to protect yourself AND YOU SHOULD but the risk is always there. But with COVID, there’s no way to truly get away from it if you’re just trying to live your life at a very basic level. There’s not a specific activity you can identify that’s going to give it to you. You know what is a higher risk and a lower risk, but it’s still everywhere and you don’t even have to touch anyone to be exposed to it.

Like, I just want to go outside, go to workout class, drink a beer with pals. I’ll wear the mask, I’ll do the sanitizer, I’ll stay away from people. AND I DO. But it’s still not 100% safe unless you hide in your house for the ordained amount of time and that’s just the way it is.

Now that COVID is a part of life it’s often necessary to have “the conversation” with the people around you. Like, “Have you been outside? Have you been inside? Have you taken off your mask? Did you go to an indoor party? Have you been tested? WHEN WAS YOUR LAST TEST?“

I find “the conversation” just as terrifying and annoying in a COVID context as an STD context. I will DO IT but I will not LIKE IT. Beyond just collecting the facts, in subtext it calls into question so many abstract, subjective things. Gray area things, like your “morality.”

Who is to say what is actually “moral”?! Perception is reality! I hope I’ve made it clear that I don’t care what anyone thinks and I never have and never will. No one can tell me what to do or judge/shame me into doing or not doing something. I cannot be stopped. But in this case, I was a little worried. Maybe not so much because I cared about people’s opinions, but more because it was important to me to be seen as a good example and someone who believes in science and is responsible. I was concerned about the COMMUNITY OVERALL AND MY CONTRIBUTION TO IT.

Also there’s no way I could have happily shared a Thanksgiving with my family on social media and avoided SOME type of persecution. And if it’s not on Instagram it didn’t happen so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And so it went, for days on end, back and forth in my mind. Agonizing and struggling over the decision. Afraid to talk to any of my friends about it because if they had an opinion one way or another I felt it would stress me out more.

In the end, my mom made the call and ended the Thanksgiving dilemma. She was also going back and forth, but I think she felt like someone needed to make a decision, so she did. AND I AM SO GRATEFUL.

I REALLY COULD NOT HANDLE IT ANOTHER SECOND.

My mom graciously volunteered that she would still make the food and my dad would come drop it off. If that is not the most mom thing ever, I don’t know what is. But I DO know that I am super excited to eat the food!

Of course it won’t be the same, eating the food alone in my apartment with my boyfriend. But I guess it’s the best I can ask for this year. I think it’s okay to say that I’m still disappointed. Because I am. I’m not going to pretend that it was easy and I’m also not going to pretend that I feel 100% okay about this choice.

But a choice was made and I’m going with it. And I’ll just drink a ton of Irish coffees and mimosas tomorrow AS IS TRADITION and won’t let it make me too sad.

AND I won’t have to watch football because my dad won’t be in charge of MY TV. Yesssssss.

Please know that I support any of your Thanksgiving choices…I think. I know it was a really hard decision for me and it took days to really make peace with it. The Thanksgiving dilemma was easy for no one. So my heart goes out to you, whatever you and your family have decided.

Happy Thanksgiving, stay happy and healthy. I’ll delve into the issue of whether or not I want to eat turkey next year. Because it’s a big one.

not everyone can be a boss…bitch.

I think about this a lot and now I’d like to write about it. You may already know this at this point in your life but I’d like to let you know that not everyone can be a boss bitch, and that’s okay.

It takes a lot of work to be a boss bitch and it exhausts and terrifies me to even think about it. You need resources and before you even have the resources you need to ferret out those resources and then cultivate and grow your relationship with them. That kind of work can take days or months or even years.

Any successful boss bitch you speak to will tell you the tale of how they became successful. This tale always involves hundreds, sometimes THOUSANDS of moments of failure leading up to that success. It takes tenacity, perseverance, mental toughness…all the things I definitely do not have. Just imagining having to deal with that many failures and rejections and issues and come out on the other side makes me want to barf.

There’s also the fact that failures and rejections and issues continue EVEN AFTER the success comes. It’s a constant, daily battle to remain a boss bitch. There’s no resting on one’s laurels. It involves continuous evolution, revolution, nuclear fusion.

I’m ready for a nap just imagining one day in a boss bitch life.

I like to surround myself with strong, smart, confident women because they inspire me, but also because I feel like I don’t want to be the boss. I want them to be the boss. Please give me something to do and I’ll follow you. I’ll cheer for your achievements, support your business, provide daily affirmations. I love what you’re doing! You’re doing great!

I’m too lazy and prone to extreme stress to do what you’re doing and that’s okay. Because not everyone can be the boss. It’s not the way it works. The concept of “boss” inherently includes that there must also be folks to be “bossed.”

I have willingly and gladly accepted my position as one of The Bossed.

When I worked in production it was always about the “hustle” and being a “rockstar.” And like, I bought into it maybe for a couple of years. But then I realized, it’s too stressful for me to constantly be operating like this, so I don’t have to do it.

I don’t have to! You don’t have to either! You can let it go if you don’t want to do it, it’s okay. Like yes, continue doing your job and working hard and contributing to the world. But there is NO REASON to feel lame because you didn’t become the boss bitch that all of the books told you that you would be.

Our generation of women was misled into believing that we could do and have everything we wanted. We could have it all! We should all be girl bosses! We were raised and trained and brainwashed into thinking that it would be so!

And it was not so. Not for all of us. And a ton of think-pieces and essays and blog posts and tweets have fully explored that part of it. So I’m not going to. But I WILL say that it was hard to accept that it was not so, for a time. Maybe like, a couple of years.

But then, BUT THEN, one day I realized that I don’t HAVE to be a “boss bitch” or a “girl boss” or “hustler” or “rockstar.” NO ONE IS MAKING ME. And I don’t have to feel bad for not making myself do it. Because it doesn’t matter. All that matters is if I feel good about who I am and what I’m doing and what I contribute to the world. And I do!

Boss bitches: I salute you. I’m here for you, I cheer for you! I will execute any call to action you request of me, as long as you’re not mean. I know “meanness” is subjective, but meanness I WILL NOT STAND FOR.

I’ll await further instructions.

i was always a boy-crazy idiot.

Every time I go home I think about reading through my old diaries. Since I’m home for Xmas right now I’m thinking about it RIGHT NOW but I’m afraid of the shame I will feel because I was always a boy crazy idiot.

My ominous stack of diaries.

Please keep in mind that I don’t think I was an ACTUAL idiot, I was actually pretty smart. But that makes it way worse, that I wasted so much of my potential and valuable brain power on being a boy crazy idiot. The energy that I wasted on thinking about boys and chasing after boys and wondering what boys thought about me and trying to get the attention of boys could have powered a small country. It could have been used to solve world hunger, or negotiate world peace. With the mental power I devoted to pining over boys I could have cured COVID before COVID even happened.

But instead, I was a boy crazy idiot.

I don’t know why this was the case. I don’t know where it came from. I was not raised to be a boy crazy idiot and I can’t recall any movies or TV shows that I liked as a kid that would have inspired me to eschew every other mental activity in the entire world to dedicate my entire mental space to “boys and the pursuit thereof.”

One offensive tome.

From the ages of 9-13 my entire existence was devoted to thinking about boys. I’m not making this up. Every place I went, every conversation I had with friends, every mental intention I set was part of a plot to get closer or capture the attention of a boy or multiple boys. Sometimes just casting a nice wide net of “any boy my age I might think is kinda cute.”

In 7th grade we went to a camp place called “Fairview Lake” for a couple of days, and it was the ULTIMATE middle school trip. I went to a regional high school with 5 “sending districts” and in 7th grade, 2 whole years before high school even started, this trip brought together the 5 elementary/middle schools for everyone to meet each other.

It was annoying to grow up in a small town and go to a small school. Like really annoying. There weren’t a lot of BOYS to choose from, but beyond that everyone was always in my business and frankly I couldn’t stand it. I mean who could?! Even at the age of 12 everyone was already gossiping and making shit up.

I couldn’t wait to get away. But I ALSO couldn’t wait for more players to be added to the game. It seemed like if there were more people/peers around, it would be easier to find what I was looking for (as far as boys) and/or easier to disappear/fall under the radar so I didn’t have to deal with anyone’s gossipy bullshit. At the time I remember thinking this Fairview Lake trip sounded so cool that it almost didn’t seem real.

Looking back, it still doesn’t seem real! It seems like something they would do in a Disney show like Flash Forward. And maybe they did. I don’t know, Google it.

But WE did and it was fun and I met a lot of people and learned some shit. But my BIGGEST takeaway for the WHOLE COOL TRIP (to be confirmed if I read my diary and that’s why I’m scared and won’t read it) was this: I looked super hot on the first day and a ton of boys noticed me.

“Hot” for a 7th grader in 1997 I guess…but I was wearing these LimitedToo knockoff wide leg jeans and a purple Champion crew neck sweatshirt. BUT UNDERNEATH, hidden from adults so I could get away with wearing it at just the right moment before anyone noticed and told me to put my sweatshirt back on, I was wearing this very thin white short sleeve v-neck with a cute little collar shirt that I got from DEB shop.

This shirt was pretty much see-through. Don’t worry, at 12 I already had full-on boobs so I WAS wearing a bra.

My big moment arrived when I was given like, “set the table” duty. This duty happened before dinner on the first evening. After a day of outdoorsy stuff everyone was hungry and waiting outside the dining hall doors. As people gathered I knew it was my moment and I removed my sweatshirt and tied it around my waist. I was hot (as in warm) anyway!

As I sailed around the dining hall and set the tables, I could feel the stares through the windows. The interested stares of THE BOYS and the outraged stares of the girls. I’d like to say “not all of the girls” but at the time no one believed in feminism or supporting other women so yes they were ALL outraged.

Okay I looked at ONE page to find confirmation. Why was this my handwriting? 🙄

For the next 2 days, a ton of people commented about my shirt…or like, my PERFORMANCE. I was on top of the world, just because of this one moment. Even now I still remember it in such crystal clear detail.

And it was ridiculous. What a silly thing to put so much effort and thought into. I could have been using that influence and brain power to take over the world! In fact, while I was using my intelligence and powers of manipulation for bullshit, some other gal my age was probably solving some kind of real problem and maybe even getting rich. Or at least setting the groundwork for future richness.

It’s cool to care about how you look and to want to look cute because I do that all the time and it’s DEF COOL because I say so. But only as a cherry on top! It shouldn’t be the only thing you’re doing! You have to use your brain too! And not just to get the attention of boys. COME ON.

I really blew it, you guys.

I HATED this sweater in 6th grade because it “wasn’t flattering” but like WHAT about my lewk WAS?!

As I started to drive my friends nuts with my incessant boy talk, I went a little more underground with the obsession in high school and college. I also stopped keeping diaries so no written evidence remains for those eras. But boys still remained on the top of my list of things to ruminate over.

Honestly I didn’t even really stop with the boy crazy bullshit until like 4 years ago. I wasted so much of my life. And I’m pissed. Although I only have myself to blame.

Even after I had captured a boy’s attention it then turned into only paying attention to things they liked. I’ve always liked to read and learn and try new things and that’s great but I used that love of learning and trying new shit to fully devote myself to the pursuit of some boy’s interests. I learned about some fun things I wouldn’t have even noticed before, like Bob Marley and mountain biking and Korean food and comedy and Brooklyn…but like what about the stuff I wanted to learn about?! I let all of that stuff slide for literal YEARS!

But never again. No, no, my friends. No longer do I chase boys. No longer do I ponder how to get their attention, or try to win them over, or orchestrate where I’m going to go out that night so I can find them or meet them or walk past them in the 2020 version of the great 1997 dining hall shirt, smirking because I know I caught their eye for 30 seconds and that’s worth the hours of thought I put into it.

NO MORE!

Not just because I have a boyfriend now. I think part of why I have a boyfriend is because I gave up this nonsense. I became a full person. I used my time and my mental space to pursue things I thought were cool and interesting and fun. I stopped deciding to go places only after considering “will any cute guys be there?” I gave up on the boy crazy life! And it’s the best thing I ever did!

In the event that I end up without a boyfriend in the future, I hope that I will continue this practice of not being a boy crazy idiot. I wasted too much life on it. It makes me so mad I wasted that much time, I can’t even stand it.

All of the years I spent worrying about “boys” I could have been doing interesting and creative things. I could have been getting rich. I could have been making more gal pals. Maybe I would be able to make my own clothes, or have a full grasp of how to use Photoshop. The possibilities are endless.

This very blog was only started a year ago! I should have been blogging for years! After that trip to Fairview Lake I should have gone home to our giant Gateway desktop computer and dialed up the internet and started a god damn blog then and there. Instead I sat around daydreaming and waited for the boys I met on the trip to call. And they did, BUT WHO CARES. Go get me the time machine it’s time to head back and make this right.

I can’t believe I wasted that much time on dumbass dudes.

I say this without meaning to offend my dad or my brother or my nephew or my boyfriend or any of my male colleagues and pals, but our lives as gals young and old are worth so much and are so rich without boys. Like yes positive male presences enhance my life but like my life is ALREADY GREAT. I don’t know what I was chasing after before, for all of those wasted years, but I do know that it was something that isn’t even real. Something that isn’t even THERE. AND I DON’T EVEN NEED IT AND NO ONE DOES AND I’M PISSED I WASTED SO MUCH PRECIOUS TIME AND ENERGY, is what I’m saying. These things are finite: time, energy, LIFE.

So I just wanted to say to little gals or little dudes or any little folks that crush on boys, DO NOT LET BOYS TAKE OVER YOUR MIND. DO NOT LET THE DIARIES YOU WRITE NOW TERRIFY AND DISGUST AND DISAPPOINT YOU AS AN ADULT. Relationships are part of life, so shoot your shot. But plz DO NOT allow the pursuit of relationships to take up so much mental space that you fail to live up to your potential. Use your energy to do great things, not pine away for hours with your nose in your diary.

I AM CHEERING FOR YOU PLZ GO DO GREAT THINGS LITTLE ONES.

K thx. Still not reading my diaries. Too shameful. Might barf.

the american medical association family medical guide: the original dr. google.

During one of my recent visits to my parents’ house I came across The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide, also known (to me) as The Original Dr. Google.

Originally published in 1982, the book has all kinds of helpful info about anything you can think of that might be slowly killing you and/or people around you.

This book started it all. My paranoia that there could always be something wrong with me, even if I feel fine. And if I don’t feel fine, I’m definitely going to die. It’s all rooted in what I read in this book.

And it’s not the book’s fault. I would have found SOMETHING to be anxious about. The options and possibilities are endless! There will always be something in my immediate environment for me to obsess over and drive myself insane thinking about. But the book was there and facilitated and enabled this level of obsession with health so my anxiety became a health-focused anxiety.

This man’s face continues to haunt me.

I used to pore over this book for hours. When I was too young and couldn’t read I would look at the pictures. When I could read I would still mostly look at the pictures because they really gave me the most alarming level of information and I think that’s what I was looking for, in some twisted way.

Children wearing pink bodysuits OF ILLNESS.

Like, “show me the really messed up stuff because it helps convince me something is really wrong.” And it’s an endless cycle of thinking something is wrong and looking it up, then momentarily feeling better because you feel like you have some kind of control over the situation if you have more knowledge about it.

And then feeling more anxious and way worse and needing to look for more information to feed your terror. And so it goes. Hour after hour, day after day.

DEATH.

During particularly anxious times in my life I have stayed up all night long looking at the internet, mentally digging a deeper and deeper hole into a sickness I don’t even have.

Or maybe I do. Who even knows?

As soon as I finally got my own health insurance when I got a “real job” at 29, I felt relieved that I could go to the doctor for a reasonable price whenever I needed to.

I always need to.

I’ve spoken to most women I know about the gynecologist – if they like theirs, if I like mine, if I can recommend one. It’s a big thing with most women that they feel comfortable with the person performing their gynecological exams. Some women even prefer to not have a male doctor.

Hey look, a dick.

For the record I DO like my gynecologist and I like her so much that she’s also my primary care doctor and I’ve been going to her for over 10 years (DR. TULLY WHAT UPPP). But sometimes I’ve been convinced something is wrong but I’m away or can’t get an appointment or need to go down the street from my office to the urgent care place during lunch and that will just take less time and effort than going to my main doctor.

Where I’m going with this is that I’m so concerned for my health at all times that I don’t even care who is going in there as long as they’re qualified to examine me and give me some kind of a diagnosis. It could be a Times Square Elmo, I do not care as long as they’re wearing gloves and have a degree.

Ugh.

I live in complete and constant terror and the terror will not subside until I have some kind of definitive answer.

During the COVID times of now, this terror has started to involve the fear of infecting others. Actually, the fear of infecting others with whatever I diagnose myself with is always there, but now I feel an added social pressure and responsibility. Getting sick with COVID suddenly creates a negative perception of your character.

You were IRRESPONSIBLE.

You are putting people around you IN DANGER.

Maybe you even DIDN’T WASH YOUR HANDS.

WHAT WILL YOUR FRIENDS AND COMMUNITY THINK OF YOU?! HOW HARSHLY WILL YOU BE JUDGED?! MAYBE YOU’LL BE A LEGIT OUTCAST UNTIL LIKE 2025. OR FOREVER.

The truth is, no one is trying to get COVID, and it’s sometimes unavoidable. We can’t judge people’s character on their ability to fight off an invisible, microscopic foe. Most people are doing their best. I don’t know why it turned into such a social crime to get sick.

I mean I guess I do know. It’s because people are insane.

Not thriving.

And maybe everyone else grew up reading The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide too. And maybe everyone lives inside their own personal mental prison of health-related stress and anxiety.

So maybe I shouldn’t feel so lonely and isolated and insane. I guess everyone is turning to Dr. Google these days. It’s a lifestyle.