f**k february.

It may already be universally understood and therefore unnecessary to say it but in case you don’t know F**K February. Like what a literal nightmare.

I’m currently looking out the window at a snow storm and devouring 5x the recommended dose of vitamin D while cowering and sobbing in front of my UV light after barely being able to drag myself out of bed this morning.

Times are not good.

There is nothing in the world that interests me or excites me right now. I don’t feel like doing ANYTHING. The effort of moving or thinking or living seems like so much work and I’d rather take a nap.

One of my friends and her now husband used to have “F**k February” parties during the normal years of parties in people’s houses and I always really enjoyed them. It was the best idea! And so great to get together with pals and have some fun and drink some drinks and eat some foods and forget that the our environment was essentially uninhabitable.

I really miss those parties and I really miss the “normal” times but like WHO DOESN’T?!

It’s February and it’s a nightmare. F**K February.

*I took these pics to cheer myself up last week on a cold snowy day and it worked. I wrote this a few days ago, so by today, the day of “publishing,” it had gotten up to 45 degrees outside during my morning run and things were looking up! But I’m the last person to think it’s wise and acceptable to trust March so I’m not getting TOO comfortable…

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.

i forgot i like records.

You guys, I forgot I like records. I like, REALLY LIKE RECORDS.

Don’t worry, I remembered this past Saturday. You can call off the search party.

I’m not 100% sure how I first got into records but one day in 2009 I ordered this old LOOKING record player from Target at the recommendation of my friend Laura from work. The first record I bought was Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest because DUH IT WAS 2009. PS I was here. Be impressed. Beyonce was there!

But then I realized that NEW records are very expensive and also not very fun to go looking for. But OLD records can be under $5 and you get to do an ACTIVITY that involves digging through bins of old dusty things and THAT is the adventure I was after.

ADDITIONALLY record stores are often havens for cute, quiet mysterious guys who love music and hate themselves and that was ALSO the kind of adventure I was after.

So I went to record stores! I went in Manhattan and Brooklyn and Austin and LA and Deep Ellum (Dallas) and Phoenix and Athens, GA. I went to record stores wherever I went whenever I could find them. I bought tons of $1 records that I then crammed into the middle of my overstuffed suitcase that I had to sit on to close and cross my fingers they didn’t snap in half.

You’ll be glad to know, I never snapped a record. Whew.

When I lived in downtown Jersey City I loved to go to Iris Records and peruse the dollar bins. You may be aware that “peruse,” although often used to describe a quick scan of something, is in fact THE OPPOSITE and means that you take a long-ass time to carefully and purposefully look through something. So yes, that is what I would do. (OH SHIT MERRIAM-WEBSTER IT MEANS BOTH <AIR HORN SOUND>)

Sometimes I would bring friends, or some guy or whoever, but I really enjoyed it when I went by myself and I was lost in my own thoughts and thinking about my own ideas of what music…IS. And what I like about it, and what I don’t like about it, and which records were worth spending $1 on.

At the end of my search when I approached the register with my pile, I always felt judged. I won’t lie! Music people are very judgmental. Which is uncool. And also why I never really considered myself like an actual, ACTUAL music person, even though I love music and going to concerts and ogling boys in bands. It’s too much to keep up with. I’ve said before I’m not compettive and I’m really not. I don’t want to have like a music stand off with you about who knows more.

I would rather die.

I don’t really know what this is but it has birds so yeah.

So yeah, checking out at record stores always felt hard, as I felt judged. But that could just be me, being an awkward weirdo. Either way you feel as though you are presenting your valuable discoveries to a panel of experts and you’re concerned about whether or not your ideas will be validated and/or accepted as fact. And like, whatever, I guess. The guy at Iris Records was super nice. He had curly hair and glasses and definitely smiled, so he gets respect for that.

But then Iris Records was no more! But maybe they’re back now? I don’t know, I’m confused.

For the last couple of years, even before the pandemic, I had started to really enjoy SILENCE. Like just sitting in my apartment reading in SILENCE. Or messing around on my phone BUT IN SILENCE. Or in the kitchen baking but with NO ADDITIONAL NOISES. I really started not listening to music as much. Sometimes I didn’t listen to music for weeks at a time. Maybe I was kind of going through something, or maybe I just needed a break. I had gone through a solid decade of hard work learning about new bands and listening to new songs and attending concerts that went super late on school nights and going to 3 day long festivals and I was DEFINITELY too old to make it through 3 days toward the end. Music and I were like, “On a break.” For a while!

In December of last year I started to run for recreational purposes, and with running came random playlists curated by Nike Run Club and some of those playlists had songs I liked! So I started to build a playlist of stuff I liked again, and I’ve been listening to it, as I move around the world…or just my house.

And I’ve been enjoying it. But, as I said, the return to records didn’t happen until this past weekend. There was a $1 record sale at Deep Space/The Hive Goods/Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop and of course I had to go because it’s one of my favorite places but also I can reasonably walk there and I needed to get my steps in, you guys.

Before I left I was going through old records that I haven’t even looked at in at least two years and I remembered all the late nights at my old apartment, bringing friends back after the bar and sprawling around the living room and listening to random shit. These were defining moments of my life and I felt sad that I left them behind.

Once I got to Deep Space/The Hive Goods/Xtina’s Variety and Vintage Shop, it was as fun as I remembered to zone out and listen to music and relax and look through the boxes of records. And I reflected on how it was once one of my favorite things and I wondered why I had stayed away so long. I don’t really have an answer for that but I’m back, baby!

And the record sale is still going on this week, in fact they will be there this very night, Wednesday 2/3/21 3-7pm eastern standard time. Check out The Hive Goods Instagram for more info.

this blanket scarf is huge.

It’s winter and I have nothing to do and knitting helps me relax so I was pumped to knit this blanket scarf. Now that I’m finished knitting it, I realize this blanket scarf is huge.

That’s fine I guess, the more the merrier. But I’m going to tell you that by looking at the materials and the measurements I had ZERO CLUE how big it would be. I could not conceptualize the size in any way. I was just like, “Cool! Blanket scarf!”

Additionally, I could not figure out the actual pattern. It was too hard. I tried it a few times and ripped it up and then watched YouTube videos and tried it again but it was a lost cause. I just did regular garter stitch for the whole thing.

The problem was: there is math in this scarf. There is math in knitting overall, and it’s unfair. There is math in the WORLD overall, and that is ALSO UNFAIR.

Math is all around us and I’m not happy about it.

Currently there’s some kind of stock thing going on with GameStop and Reddit and evil hedge-fund dudes with money that I would never look at twice because they annoy me and I’d kick them in the balls and I’m doing my best to avoid the whole thing. I know if I tried to learn about it I would be unsuccessful and that frustrates me. I also don’t want to have to scrape chunks of my exploded brain off the wall after my mind is blown and I still haven’t learned anything.

No one talks about how hard math is and it’s not fair so I’m talking about it now. Sure there are a ton of people that are like “I don’t understand stocks lol,” but I fully do not understand ANY AND ALL math. ESPECIALLY stocks, it’s basically made up monopoly money to me. Which I guess it is, in a way. Or it’s not. I don’t even know what it is, don’t listen to me.

I want to be up with the stuff and you know I’m all about “Down with The Man” but this GameStop shit makes zero sense to me no matter how many different things I read about it or how many kind people try to explain it to me.

It’s not in the cards for me to understand it, like the multiple times I’ve tried to play poker or chess or even an INSTRUMENT. The math is lurking ominously within all of those things and math is a foreign language I will never be able to learn. I can try but the basic materials needed to learn and understand and comprehend it are missing from my brain.

I’m not making this up. Math enters my brain and hits a wall and that is where it dies. It plummets to the ground and shrivels up as it gasps for breath and you can spot the piles of skeletons of math that surround me if you look at pictures of me very closely.

It’s just that I didn’t think this scarf would be this big. But it is. And it’s fine. It’s cold out.

sound of metal.

Just here to write a little post about a little film called Sound of Metal.

That’s all.

Also, spoilers ahead.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I’m deaf in one ear. If you didn’t know that…surprise! I wasn’t ignoring you, or messing with you by enthusiastically responding “yes” to a question that was not a yes or no question. I just couldn’t hear you.

It wasn’t always this way! In the past I could hear in both ears. But now, just one.

I guess I’m better off than Riz Ahmed’s character in Sound of Metal, because he loses hearing in both of his ears as a quick fun little surprise one day when he’s minding his own business and organizing merch at one of his concerts.

Yes he plays a MUSICIAN that loses his hearing and it is HEARTBREAKING. Like I kind of couldn’t breathe the whole time I was watching the film because I had that “I’m just about to cry and I’m trying not to” lump in my throat from the moment his hearing cut out. Although my hearing is now limited, I can still hear a little, and the way that they sonically demonstrated his hearing “turning off” in the film punched me right in the stomach with sensory familiarity.

LIke, one minute you’re going about your life and you can hear normally, and the next minute…WHOOSH IT IS GONE. Your ear isn’t working and you can only hear vibrations and you’re like WTF.

At first he doesn’t tell anyone. I also didn’t tell anyone! It felt too scary to admit there was an actual problem. He tries to yawn and crack his jaw, like when your plane lands and you need to “pop” your ears. I did the same! It really felt the same as the ear popping thing. I guess mentally you associate not being able to hear with that feeling so you think yawning will solve it.

Yawning will not solve it.

By the time he goes to a pharmacy to see if they have any medicine that can help he is super stressed and freaked out.

I MEAN, SAME.

When he went to get his hearing tested in the little booth with the sounds I wanted to cry again. I still have nightmares about that. The frustration of knowing you can’t really hear what they’re saying and trying to guess and knowing you’re wrong and therefore deaf is the worst thing ever.

The hardest, shittiest thing to deal with is realizing that it CANNOT BE FIXED. In our modern first world lives we have all these doctors and all this medicine and any other time anything medically bad like this has happened it has been fixable. But this…is not.

They can’t fix it. There are certain kinds of hearing loss they can’t fix. I’m not a doctor but I know the kind I had could not be fixed, and it couldn’t be fixed for our pal Riz in Sound of Metal.

The really, REALLY sad thing is, he goes through the whole film thinking that it CAN be fixed. That if he gets an operation and hearing aids that his ability to hear sound will magically return and everything will be the same. Before I lost my hearing, I thought the same thing. Like, just get hearing aids, duh.

Which is what everyone always says to me, “Just get a hearing aid.”

DO YOU THINK I HAVEN’T THOUGHT OF THAT, YOU GUYS?

First of all, hearing aids are expensive and insurance is like, “not on our dime.” I’ve tried them on and tried them out before and they leave a lot to be desired. It doesn’t sound like real sound! It sounds like an echo-y, weird cave and it makes my head hurt. My head ALREADY hurts and I’m ALREADY trying to hear things, I don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to just feel…the same.

If I was deaf in BOTH ears, then yes, a hearing aid would likely be necessary for me to get through the world. And I would get it, just like Riz had to. But I also would be incredibly frustrated with the results and wander around Paris and feel sad and turn it off and then let the credits roll with my tears, as Riz did.

The scene when he first gets the hearing aids turned on and he’s like, “It sounds weird, can you adjust it?” and you see his face expecting it to just straighten out when the doctor finds the right frequency or something and then she’s like, “well that’s it” and his very soul is just CRUSHED and you can see it in his eyes….UGH YOU GUYS.

The hearing aid was not the solution. The sign language and lip reading and even the confidence he learned with his deaf pals – THAT WAS THE SOLUTION.

I WAS SO SAD WHEN HE LEFT THERE. WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN?!

Speaking of his deaf pals, another thing I learned about when I went deaf in one ear is that there is a movement among deaf folks that includes being against corrective surgery and/or hearing aids. They encourage deaf people to use lip reading and sign language, as well as encouraging parents of children born deaf to not intervene with cochlear implants. Part of their concern is deafness being seen as something that needs to be “fixed,” as well as concern that deaf culture and deaf folks as a minority face a threat of being eradicated. I came across a pretty good article about it here, but first read about it in Andrew Solomon’s amaaaahzing book Far From the Tree.

I’m only deaf in one ear and it has only been for a fraction of my life so I don’t know if I’m qualified to have an opinion on this, but I will say that I obviously HATE not hearing and would do almost anything to hear again. BUT…I would want to hear again the way I heard before, NOT in the way that currently available hearing aids allow me to hear.

So I get it, the idea that sign language is a perfectly acceptable and fulfilling way to communicate and move through the world, because it is. And that was really driven home in this film, in a way I hadn’t thought about it before. Because I DO need to learn sign language.

In March it will be 8 years since I lost my hearing. 8 years since I went through some of what Riz Ahmed’s character went through in the film. And I still haven’t learned sign language. Perhaps I’ll have to go away somewhere for a while, and live among deaf folks and be forced to learn how to communicate. If I had endless time and money and resources I would definitely commit to this. Like why not? I guess I should to commit to it anyway and just watch YouTube videos and learn it on my couch.

Speaking of YouTube videos, I came across this one a couple of months ago:

I had NO IDEA there was a separate Black American Sign Language until I saw this. My mind was blown.

I guess I have to learn that now too.

Anyway, Sound of Metal was an incredible film. It was so very sad and tense and stressed me out, but it really hit home and I think they did a fantastic idea of telling a story of sudden hearing loss.

GO WATCH IT. DO IT.

spotify wrapped: you don’t have to be a dick about it.

The end of the year has come. Even though it was a lame year, we still have the thrill of end of the year “lists” and “retrospectives” and one of my favorites is Spotify Wrapped.

First of all, I love Spotify as an app, an idea, AND A LIFESTYLE. To this day I marvel over being able to find any music I want at any time. It’s there and it’s beautiful and it’s for me.

Everyone I know that loves music loves Spotify. I’m not saying it’s a requirement, I’m just saying in my EXPERIENCE all of my fellow music lovers are fully on board. It’s a great thing to have in our lives, living inside of our phone.

So the Spotify Wrapped time of year, when it arrives, is fun and joyful and exciting. I love to see what everyone has been listening to, I really truly do.

I won’t go into how much I miss getting mix tapes/CDs from pals BUT I MISS IT A LOT. It was truly an unparalleled honor to give and receive these bespoke musical anthologies and I miss it every day.

So Spotify Wrapped offers a chance to see what pals have been listening to. Taking a peek at their favorites and most played helps me discover more music! If I really respect someone’s musical taste or relate to their taste overall, I’ll go and listen to everything on their list and I will be a better person for it and that is a beautiful thing.

Most of my friends shared their Spotify Wrapped videos and it was fun and happy. I saw some friends express their happiness over enjoying the Spotify Wrappeds of others. All was well.

Until I started to see some memes that were like, “I don’t care what you listened to this year,” or like, “I’d rather see your ‘dumb’ workout video than your Spotify Wrapped.” And for whatever reason it made me COMPLETELY ANNOYED.

I simply don’t understand why some people have to be SO SNARKY and HATE EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. LIke they were just looking for their next thing to pick on and feel superior to and they were so excited when Spotify Wrapped came around so they could really TEACH IT A LESSON.

Why do you look down on fun, on happiness, on a CELEBRATION OF HUMAN SPIRIT? HAVE YOU NO SOUL?

I get that it’s like “cool” and “subversive” to judge and hate on stuff. But maybe get over it just this once. We’ve had a hard year.

I know that “social media” as a “thing” gets a lot of flak for ruining our lives, but I think at its core social media allows us to tell stories about ourselves and the people around us, and that’s good for us. All humans are storytellers, it’s a thing. We were story tellers when we couldn’t really speak and when we painted in caves and when we only had oral traditions and then we had the printing press and then came radio followed by TV and so on and so on. We will always find a new way to tell our stories and THAT IS NOT BAD. Social media lets ANYONE easily tell their story and have an audience, even if only one person sees it. If NO people see it and they’re just shouting into the void, THAT STILL HAS VALUE, as far as the human experience.

So let people have their Spotify Wrapped without fear of your rude, unnecessary, and irrelevant commentary, is what I’m saying. They’re not hurting anyone. And in addition to just tolerating it, I urge you to find in your heart the ability to RESPECT it, maybe even ENJOY it. It might make you glad. And less of a sad, disappointed, fun-ruining hater with no soul.

To help you get started, here is MY Spotify Wrapped Top Songs of 2020 playlist.

ENJOY.

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.

blankets OUTSIDE.

It’s important that we discuss a phenomenon only just revealed to me and that is blankets OUTSIDE. IN THE OUTDOORS. NOT IN A BED OR ON A COUCH. YOU ARE JUST OUT IN THE WORLD, BUT WITH A BLANKET.

Never in my life have I thought of a blanket as an outdoor accessory. But the time has come for me to learn and accept that blankets work outside, too.

They work really well, and my life is forever changed.

COVID-19 is a proven and obvious dumpster fire that also made it essentially a requirement that we stay outside when we gather together and hang out. According to science it’s safer that way I guess. I also feel safer in the outside and ENJOY the outside a great deal so it works out.

Over the summer it was hot so it was comfortable to be outside. Until it wasn’t, because it got too hot. BUT, I feel that most of us adapted to being hot and didn’t feel as hot as we would have felt if we had had the option to lurk inside a place like Pet Shop with the most delightfully icy AC you’ve ever felt. That just wasn’t an option. They didn’t even make their AC that cold this year. I think because they didn’t want us to feel sad. I still felt sad but I didn’t crave AC in the desperate way I thought I would.

We adapted! It wasn’t too hot because hot was our only option. Our other option was stay home. Like, “be a little hot or be a god damn hermit and hate yourself and your life” were our only options.

I chose to be a little hot. It was fine.

But now, it’s cold. For some reason cold seems a little harder to adapt to. Maybe because it feels like you could die. Unlike being hot, where you’re able to hydrate to ward off death by dehydration, simply drinking more water cannot protect you from death by getting too cold/hypothermia.

So we must find other ways to adapt. And one of those ways is blankets outside.

I started noticing blankets outside as the weather got colder.

My parents like to hang out and drink on their front porch on Friday nights and I had been doing that with them all summer. Once it got cold – BLANKETS OUTSIDE.

A couple of weekends ago I went on a trip upstate and guess what – BLANKETS OUTSIDE. AROUND THE FIRE. THE BLANKETS SMELL LIKE FIRE AND THAT ADDS TO THE CHARM.

Maybe there have always been blankets outside and I just haven’t noticed. I guess they have them on like…cruise ships. And speaking of ships yes I do think they were on the Titanic. I saw them in the movie.

I could see them also being a staple at like…ski resorts?

Anyway I’m not saying I INVENTED blankets outside, I’m just saying I’ve NOTICED blankets outside. And maybe we should all be using them. They seem like a great idea. I have two really cute Buffalo plaid ones that I think really work for the outside. I’m going to start bringing them to Pet Shop.

You’re welcome.

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.