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.

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.

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.

vote early.

Yesterday afternoon I filled out my ballot and headed out into the autumn sunshine to vote early.

We have to vote early! I mean I don’t know if we HAVE to, but it certainly seems that we SHOULD. Our country is a garbage fire, and the one thing we may have a tiny bit of control over in order to change that, the 2020 Presidential Election, is less than a month away. LESS. THAN. A. MONTH.

IT IS TIME TO GET SERIOUS.

If you aren’t registered to vote, in NJ you have until October 13 to do so. GO DO SO, DAMMIT.

Those of us who were already registered to vote in New Jersey have all been sent mail-in ballots without having to ask. This makes me happy because it was less effort for me, and I assume less effort for others who may be too lazy to even make the effort that I would certainly make but complain about it the whole time. If you were registered to vote, you were sent a ballot. They did the same thing with our primary earlier this year and it seemed to go smoothly.

The packet containing the ballot also included some other important info. Such as, we have drop-off boxes in Jersey City! You don’t have to use the mail! If you don’t like my photo you can find the list here.

I love the mail and fully support the USPS but too many seeds of mail suspicion have been planted and I don’t want to risk it. As in, I don’t want to use the mail and have them be like, “Oh we lost it because the mail ‘doesn’t work’ because ‘we said so.'” “Them” being the government. But like the lamest parts of the government that make up stories to get their way. That “them.” So I decided to take a walk to downtown Jersey City and drop it off at City Hall.

Along with the ballot came very detailed instructions on how to fill it out.

DO NOT MESS UP.

A co-worker also shared this earlier today, it’s some different ways that you CAN mess it up.

BUT AGAIN DO NOT BLOW IT.

Unfortunately the mail-in ballots do not come with an “I Voted!” sticker, which is hands-down the best part of modern voting as we know it. Although I do love to go vote in person and take a little picture with my chosen voting day outfit on, my polling place is always out of stickers already, EVEN IF I GET THERE WITHIN THE FIRST HOUR OF VOTING. Either they’re lying to me or they’re messing with me and either way I don’t appreciate it.

Once you have dropped your ballot off in a drop box or (bravely) mailed it out, you can register to track it here: https://www.nj.gov/state/elections/vote-track-my-ballot.shtml

That particular link is only for you if you live in NJ but other states have ’em too. Get signed up ASAP, so you’ll know if something goes wrong and can do your darnedest to fix it and get your vote counted. Mine already says “Received” and I only dropped it off yesterday! AND IT WAS A SUNDAY. Oh man am I high on the democratic process right now OR WHAT?!

I know that no one is really very excited about this. About our choice of candidates, or how it seems like everything will still suck either way, or the fact that we don’t know if our opinion even counts at all. But it’s worth a try, AND IT IS YOUR GOD DAMN CIVIC DUTY. So get out there, get your ballot, fill it out, put it in the box, and vote early. Then on actual election day you can hide in the privacy of your own home under a hastily constructed blanket fort with booze and snacks and try your best not to freak the heck out as you await the results.

i don’t need your attention.

I don’t need your attention.

This is a rant that I wrote when I was outraged about some dumb shit someone random and nameless said and I hope it speaks to some of you out there.

We have to stick together, those of us who dare to live the way we want, convention be damned. Those of us who often feel we’re moving about life in our own super fun, charming, whimsical play that was written for us by us performed by US. Who relish the sun that shines down on our calculatedly charmed lives. Who find incredible joy in simply existing and confidence in simply being ourselves.

THIS IS FOR US.

Despite this life of joy and charm we don’t NEED anyone’s attention. Every single human is damaged and it’s true that we also have not escaped life unscathed, but we are not damaged in the way that we need someone’s, ANYONE’s attention. We are not “attention whores.”

Also “attention ‘whore’” is a very rude and derivative expression and I’m sorry to even give it any credibility by putting it here. It’s creating a mean issue to insult/discredit/upset someone out of something that isn’t even an issue. So stop. Be cool.

We don’t need attention to survive. We don’t thirst for attention. If we are just going about our normal business and living our lives and if we somehow attract attention, so be it. If we have attracted your attention and for whatever reason you’re COMPLETELY OUTRAGED that we could have done such an AWFUL THING AND UNFORGIVABLE THING…we guess we’re sorry? I don’t really know. Maybe we’re not sorry. Leave me alone.

There are nefarious specters that lurk on the periphery of my life. They are not in my life, because it is MY life, and only I have a say about how I live it. So if you have a problem with it I don’t know what to tell you besides love me or leave me alone.

I am loud. I’ll say it again, I LIVE MY LIFE. I go about my business. I often dress naked. In doing any of these things I am never searching for attention. I’m just living. I don’t know how to state this enough. I’m definitely self aware at this point. Of course it takes constant, cultivating, psychological “work” to maintain self awareness, and I could always be MORE self aware. We all could. But in this sense I clearly see that I do not need your attention. Often I don’t even want it. I don’t need validation. I just do what I want to do. I’m not doing it for you. I’m not doing it for anyone.

I’m doing it for me. I do the things I do to be myself and exist as happily and comfortably as I can within my own universe.

It has been said by some that were likely angry, more angry than I was when I wrote this post, which was pretty angry, that those of us who live this way need attention from somewhere and it doesn’t matter where we get it. I’ve taken a long hard self aware look at this commentary and deduced that it could not be further from the truth.

So shut up. Bye.

lambrusco, the perfect pizza wine.

Last night I got to thinking and I was thinking about Lambrusco, the perfect pizza wine.

I was basically thinking about how I can’t really drink wine anymore because it gives me an AWFUL headache, and tomorrow I’m going for pizza with some of my pals and I had to plan ahead what I’m going to drink. Because I’m insane. But during this planning process as I fell asleep my thoughts turned to Lambrusco.

THE PERFECT PIZZA WINE.

Lambrusco was discovered BY ME at Motorino in the East Village and subsequently skyrocketed in popularity in Jersey City. I mean correlation doesn’t imply causation but I think I had a hand in it. Also that’s an unofficial claim and zero research has been done on it, so believe what you will.

We went to Motorino for pizza (duh) and on the little board on the wall it was written, “Lambrusco – the perfect pizza wine!” I had never heard of it and had no idea what it was, but assumed I probably wouldn’t like it because I’m not that big on wine, especially red wine. Instead of taking out my phone and googling it I asked the waiter what it was. This was very out of character for me.

When he replied with, “it’s a sparkling red” my head exploded and they had to scrape my brains off the walls. A sparkling RED?! I had never considered such a thing!

Okay actually I HAD considered a sparkling red in the sense that I used to add Diet Sprite to red wine in college in order to make it more palatable. I really dislike red wine, even now. It’s thick and oppressive and it makes your mouth all purple. It creeps me out.

The issue is that red wine is supposed to go with pizza and pasta and all that shit. But I hate red wine so I was always drinking Sauvignon Blanc or Prosecco or something. But that ALSO creeped me out because it felt very against the social convention. Eating and enjoying foods is important to me and I love it and it’s all I have and I want to enjoy it in the best way possible so I was like I need to heed this red wine with pizza reccomendaish at some point. Just for science or whatever.

After I was informed of its characteristics I ordered Lambrusco IMMEDIATELY and my life has never been the same. It really IS the perfect pizza wine! It’s red so it checks that box, but it’s also light and sparkling and a little sweet so I don’t feel the normal red wine aversion.

On a regular Friday pizza night I used to drink a full bottle of Lambrusco. The first few times I drank it I got it by the glass and by the end of dinner I had had like 6 glasses and that cost a lot. I don’t remember how much because math. But then I started just getting a bottle. It was better for everyone.

Lambrusco became so beloved in my life that I would drink it and yell, “Lambrusco!” Or “‘Brusco!” Or “It’s the perfect pizza wine!” Or, more commonly, all three. The servers at Porta, my main source for pizza, eventually started to know that a bottle of Lambrusco was what I most wanted. They would bring it without even asking at one point. They were wise.

At some point, as with everything, my consumption of Lambrusco went down and then tapered off almost completely. I did a sober January for the first time a couple of years ago and was never the same again. My drinking endurance was irrevocably compromised. Now I can only drink like…a Pilsner or a light lager. Or a White Claw. Oooo or a rose cider! I mean I “can” drink anything but there are certain things I try to avoid because I’ll feel like total crap and won’t get anything done the next day. Wine is one of those things.

So I miss Lambrusco, I do. Pilsners and White Claws do not pair with pizza quite as well. I can’t yell, “White Claw!” in joyful fashion as I order it. That would be sociopath behavior. I can’t proclaim “It’s the perfect pizza Pilsner!” It just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Actually, “pizza Pilsner” could work because ALLITERATION!

Brb searching for a pizza Pilsner. Wait do you know any pizza Pilsners?! Plz advise.

a clean house is evidence of mental inferiority.

I recently watched a pretty great movie on Hulu called “Shirley.” Elisabeth Moss plays author Shirley Jackson and at one point she’s having a depressive episode and just wants to sleep and doesn’t clean her house. Her husband disapproves and is like, “Bla bla bla I’m a jerk” (I’m paraphrasing), and she says, “A clean house is evidence of mental inferiority.”

This really spoke to me, mostly because I WANTED it to be true. I want to believe that the fact that my home is always a huge mess and I honestly don’t care means that I’m the smartest woman alive. That I have rich and varied intellectual inner and outer lives and have way better and more impressive things to do with my time than waste it cleaning.

It just has to be true.

Because I do not care about cleaning. Not one bit. I hate doing it and it’s annoying and feels like an inconvenience. There is no world in which I’m the person who would like “deep clean” their bathroom without (legal in some states) chemical enhancement. And even then I usually get bored a third of the way through and half ass the rest of the job.

I don’t even really think about disorder of my space in general. Honestly I don’t think I even see it. Like my brain doesn’t register that there is stuff thrown all over the place and I should pick it up. I don’t feel a NEED to pick ANYTHING up until there are piles on the floor that are physically blocking my way and I’m tripping over them. Then I’m like oh shit I guess I should get this out of the way. Wouldn’t want to break anything.

Quick sample of what the room I sleep in at my parents’ house looks like after I’ve been there for about 30mins.

My anxiety is extreme and manifests itself in a variety of ways, and I am a perfectionist about some things in the sense that if things aren’t how I need them to be I get really freaked the heck out. But luckily (unluckily?) for me I have been spared from anxiety related to germs/cleanliness/overall disorder of a physical space. Perhaps I’m too busy feeling completely freaked out about other things to notice.

Speaking of mental bullshit, I also get depressed. Actual depression depressed, not like “sad.” When that happens I have a hard time even doing the basic things I need to do in a day, like go to work and make a living. BUT I DO IT. BUT I MOSTLY JUST WANT TO SLEEP THE WHOLE TIME. During these times all of my free time and energy goes toward just trying to keep things going and maintain the basic systems of my existence. Cleaning my home isn’t a basic system of my existence. I’m just telling you, it’s not.

My old roommate and I were roommates for so long I think in part because we had the same ideas about cleaning. Also we are besties but the cleaning (or lack thereof) connection really made things rad. When we had parties we would joke that we had to make our apartment, “people-coming-over clean.” And that would be just like regular clean for a regular person. But we were not regular. Because a clean house is evidence of mental inferiority and we were GOSH DARN MOTHER EFFING GENIUSES. TRY TO DENY IT. I’LL WAIT.

I will admit that OF COURSE the mansion/apartment/shack/house (hehe MASH) feels way better and more comfortable when it is clean and tidy. But what is the PRICE YOU MUST PAY for it to be like that all the time? The price of your mental capacity when you could be doing something smart or intellectual OR resting your brain to get ready for the next smart and intellectual thing? We only have so much to give, and we cannot do it all.

The world around us wants us to be cleaning, they expect it. At one point I read the rudest meme I had ever seen and it said, “If her house doesn’t smell like breakfast or cleaning products by 9:30am on a Saturday she’s not girlfriend material.”

HOW ABOUT YOU SUCK IT.

EVER THOUGHT ABOUT GETTING YOUR OWN FOOD OR CLEANING PRODUCTS? EVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW I’M NOT WAKING UP UNTIL 1PM BECAUSE IT IS SATURDAY BUT THAT DOESN’T DISQUALIFY ME FROM BEING SOMEONE’S GIRLFRIEND?! Ugh I hate you.

Maybe one of the reasons why I’m so disinterested in cleaning is because… the patriarchy. Don’t tell me I should be cleaning because then I’m most definitely NOT going to clean and I will probably also run outside through some mud in my Dr. Martens and then stomp in your bed. That’s just the way it will have to go.

HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT SATURDAY MORNING, CHAD?!

Speaking of mud, and after thinking about this a little harder, I will say that my house is more “messy” than actually “dirty.” Like yeah it needs to be vacuumed, but there aren’t plates of half eaten food around or anything like that. You can’t leave half eaten food around! That’s how you attract creatures and then once you attract them the only way out is to kill them. And if I have to see a mouse struggling for its little mouse life on one of those glue traps I will definitely lose my shit.

Things need to be disinfected, food waste can’t lurk, etc. This basic maintenance DOES get done so don’t be afraid for my overall health. But I WILL have ten pairs of shoes scattered about my living room and a falling over pile of old magazines on my coffee table, clean clothes piled on every piece of furniture, dirty clothes all over the floor, backpacks/totes/purses I have used and then thrown on the floor after digging through them and transferring the necessities to a different bag, etc, etc, etc and so on and so on and so on this is the song that never ends. Yes it goes on and on, my friend.

As always this is my opinion, and I’m not trying to call you dumb because YOUR home is clean or tell you how to live your life. This is just what works for ME.

In the future someday maybe I won’t be poor and I can pay someone else to clean my home for me. It will be worth every penny, for sure. Until then, I suppose I will live among chaos.

put your puritanism back in your pants.

After I wrote this I did a fact check to make sure puritanical behavior was actually the Puritan’s fault and some sources disagreed. I still don’t like their overall vision and will leave them as my scapegoat for this.

I’m going to have to respectfully request that you take your puritanism and you put it back in your pants.

If that doesn’t work I will full-on disrespectfully demand that you shove it up your own ass.

Are you listening? Cool.

It’s likely you’re aware that my favorite way to dress is almost naked. It’s been that way since birth. I’ve always loved a revealing outfit. I’m not ever going to stop loving revealing outfits. They’re a part of me. The very fabric of my being is woven with threads of cleavage and short skirts and bathing suits while not at the beach. This is nothing new. But for some reason sometimes folks still have something to say. And I blame the Puritans.

By Puritans I mean the people that started some shit in this county. By “some shit” I mean they were one of the groups on the front lines of stealing the land of Native Americans and justifying their behavior by saying it was “god’s” idea. Also burning women alive if they didn’t like their overall vibe. You know, those Puritans. Bunch of jerks.

Unforch their beliefs and behaviors about sexuality and people’s bodies and the ways people are allowed to dress their bodies hang over us like an ominous cloud. Like why is this cloud still here? Their buildings have survived so I guess maybe that’s why the cloud of nonsensical judgement has. I don’t really know. It’s stubborn as hell. It’s giving me a headache. I really can’t stand it.

During my fact check I found that their ideas lasted so long and permeated our whole society because they valued intelligence and had a high level of literacy and that is…terrifying. They used their nerd powers for bad! Ugh! The worst!

Simply existing as a woman in the world is hard enough. You can be physically over-powered at any time. There’s a need to be “careful” and to have an “awareness.” It’s exhausting. Part of your “awareness” has to do with the way you dress and the “kind of signals you’re sending out with your wardrobe choices.” Ugh. Shut up.

My biggest problem being, if you care about how you look and like how you look and take pride in it and really want to go all out that suddenly becomes some kind of “problem” because you’re being “slutty” or “thirsty” and according to the ominous cloud of sexist bullshit that hangs over all of us you’re not allowed to “do that” because it’s “wrong.”

This gets me so incredibly angry.

And it’s not just men. Women do this to each other and reinforce the whole ridiculous thing day in and day out. It’s like, “Oh that woman over there? She’s a thirsty slut, bye.” A

re they jealous because they can’t find the strength to go all out? Probably. But more likely they’re just brainwashed and we have to help them see the light, too. WE HAVE TO HELP EACH OTHER. (And if they don’t like wearing revealing clothes on their own bodies I’m not saying they have to. They choose their choice. Just so that’s clear.)

I’ve cared about how I look, liked how I look, took pride in how I look, and have “really wanted to go all out” since day one. I felt like this as a child, as a preteen, as a teenager, as an adult. I’ve felt like this at every size I’ve ever been, with every haircut. Sometimes I look back and I’m like “meh, don’t love this style now.” But never once have I said, “I regret going all out on that,” as far as the level of how revealing it was.

Because I don’t. And I shouldn’t be made to regret it. And I’m really going to start kicking people again if that’s what it’s going to have to come down to.

My parents never told me what to wear. And before you’re like, “Did they just let you run around with no shoes on and bite people like a feral child of the forest?!” please pause and realize that they were very disciplined about many other things. We weren’t allowed to play with toy guns. We weren’t allowed to eat candy cigarettes because they encouraged actual cigarette behavior. Stuff like that. THE IMPORTANT LIFE THREATENING ISSUES WERE EXPRESSED TO US AND WE WERE TAUGHT TO BE WARY OF THEM.

THE CLOTHES YOU WEAR ARE NOT A LIFE THREATENING ISSUE.

Tight dress in 8th grade = TOTALLY FINE LEAVE ME ALONE THX.

And if you wanna be like, “If you dress in a revealing way you’re making yourself a target for assault”…then you’re barking up the wrong tree. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. MAYBE WE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT STOPPING THE ASSAULT INSTEAD OF POLICING PEOPLE’S CLOTHING I DON’T KNOW JUST AN IDEA.

Perhaps we should teach people from a very young age that the amount of clothing someone is wearing doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean they want to have sex with you. It doesn’t mean they want your validation or attention. It doesn’t mean that they’re somehow weaker and could potentially be a victim. It’s not a thing. It’s clothing. It’s on them. Move along. Also you’re 4 years old. Calm down.

I realize that it’s part of BIOLOGY for people pay attention to secondary sex characteristics and that’s why when people see “boobs” they immediately think “sex.” But I’m talking about SOCIETY and I think by now after thousands of years around here we should be able to integrate our societal intelligence with our biological intelligence and like DO BETTER.

It’s called evolution EVER HEARD OF IT.

Also what’s that thing that moms are always talking about that it’s okay to breastfeed in public? Like, boobs have OTHER PURPOSES. THEY FEED BABIES. SO BOOBS CAN ALSO JUST SIT THERE AND BE A PART OF SOMEONE’S BODY AND NOT CAUSE YOU TO AUTOMATICALLY RELATE THEM TO SEX, YA SICKO.

I’m just annoyed. I know this isn’t anything that hasn’t been said before. But this is where I stand. And I will continue to stand here, scantily clad. And I won’t feel bad about it. So go find someone else to bother if you want to make someone feel bad. BECAUSE I DON’T, SO SHUT UP ALREADY.

you guys, i’m poor.

You guys, I’m poor.

I just want you to know, I’m poor. Maybe you don’t believe me. I have a good job and (I think) I’m paid a fair, reasonable, maybe even above average amount.

But I’m poor. You must believe me.

I don’t mean like “I’m poor because I can’t buy everything I want,” I mean “I’m poor because I have no savings and live paycheck to paycheck.”

But I also DON’T mean “I’m so poor I live on the street and I don’t know where my next meal is coming from.” I guess I’m like “middle poor.” And in that I am lucky.

But, when I say I have “no” savings, I don’t mean I have such a negligible amount, like $200, that it seems insignificant. I mean that I have zero dollars saved. A total. Of zero. Zero hundred dollars.

Also please know that this is difficult and embarrassing for me to talk about but I was like maybe this is worth discussing in a public forum and will help empower others to also discuss it which I am all about so here we are.

How did I get here? It’s totally my fault, obviously. I simply spend more than I make. I live beyond my means. I have LIVED beyond my means for over a decade. My means were already limited, and in a cruel ironic twist, spending beyond my means has limited my means even more.

Ugh. Means.

Reason number one is, I’m terrible at math. My brain does not understand math at all. Numbers don’t make sense. They swim across the page, they twirl around my head, and within seconds they become irrelevant.

It’s difficult for me to conceptualize what math even MEANS. More than once and in more formats than I can count I have tried to create and stick to a budget. Sometimes with parental and even professional assistance. All of these attempts have failed miserably. These dead husks of financial failure pile on top of each other to form the barren wasteland that is my net worth. I don’t even really know what “net worth” is but I assume mine is at least a few thousand below zero. Negative thousands. That’s a math?

I hate numbers so much that I simply ignore them. Much to my detriment of course. But I still hate them. And things that I hate or no longer have a use for just get ignored like they aren’t real or never happened.

Just like with anything, I’m sure I could google like, “Coping tools to deal with limited math skills,” and teach myself ways to be better. Maybe I’ll get there someday. But for now, I’m poor.

Second is that I am obsessed with stuff. Just…ANY STUFF. Anything that I like, anything that catches my eye, I must own it. I must bring it home and have it where I can see it and keep it as my possession always. The more stuff around me the better I feel.

Stuff stuff stuff.

Stuff for my face, stuff for my hair, stuff to wear. Stuff to read, stuff to clean, stuff to eat. Stuff to simply sit and enjoy reflecting upon. I’ve tried the whole Marie Kondo thing and it’s impossible for me because everything I own brings me joy. IT BRINGS ME SO MUCH JOY.

This is me.

I have completely bought into the part of capitalism that says it’s great to have stuff and I am sorry. And I’ve bought a lot of it so I’m poor.

And finally, I always have to be doing something. Let me say that again because this is the biggest thing, I ALWAYS HAVE TO BE DOING SOMETHING.

Doing things costs money. Doing things costs A TON of money, especially around where I live.

But sitting inside my house and doing nothing is my WORST NIGHTMARE AND I CANNOT STAND IT. I feel that I NEED to go out into the world and drink drinks and eat foods and travel to fun places and do fun and exciting activities. I NEED to do all of this because if I don’t I will SURELY PERISH.

It’s true, I will LEGIT FREAKIN PERISH, YOU GUYS.

The other day I was thinking, I was deep in thought, among my stuff, and I had a thought, and that thought was “I think spending money has become part of my personality. And when I can’t spend money I’m incredibly depressed. Because I need to spend to keep up with all the things I love.”

And that made me feel weird. Like wtf. That’s not how we’re raised to behave. That’s not how people are supposed to see “stuff,” is it? In a way it seems immoral. I’m supposed to say, “no like health and life and my relationships mean more than stuff.” Because that’s the right thing to say.

But the question is, do they? Maybe stuff means just the same amount as all of that other…stuff, and we’re all just lying to ourselves. We’re taking the moral high ground and we’re lying to ourselves.

I mean I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. I DO know that I had a conversation with a friend the other day and it was like “No one ever talks about money but everyone is always buying and doing stuff and perhaps it’s questionable that anyone can really actually afford it. But no one talks about it so no one would really know. And we all want to keep up with life so we don’t want to say no and not do or get things we can’t afford. And most of all there’s a lot of shame associated with talking about money.”

So this is me saying I truly CANNOT afford it and that is of course shameful but also maybe it will help you in some way. And help society as a whole because if we talked about it, just like with anything, it would be less shameful. And then everyone would gradually get better at money because they would feel comfortable saying no to things they can’t afford and they would save money and we would all be rich AF.

Maybe we’d even own PROPERTY or a CAR or SOMETHING because most people I know don’t have that. Any of that. For me personally those are things I can’t see myself ever having. At this point having a down payment for a house or a car is the same thing as having a million dollars. It’s as impossible and as unlikely. As a million dollars.

It’s like that for a lot of millennials, right? Please agree? We got screwed by the gig economy? And student loans? And the recession in 2008? And also the other recession now?

I’m not here to blame outside factors though. I take responsibility for this being my fault. Because it is.

But I will end with another thought, someone else’s thought. I used to go to this writing “salon” that I really enjoyed called Novella and one day one of the speakers was a gal named Ashley C. Ford and she said something that really wedged itself into my brain and is still there, kinda like buzzing and pressing against my skull. She said, and I’m paraphrasing, “We have to talk about money. We can’t be afraid to talk about it and ask about it and ask to be paid fairly. Because the people that have the money WANT us to not talk about it. They want us to be too scared or awkward to even bring it up. Because they know that’s how they keep the money. If we don’t talk about it we don’t get any. So talk about the money!”

So then I did. Thx.

summer doldrums.

Sorry to say it but I think I’m in the throes of summer doldrums. I’m sorry because I do really love summer but it gets to a certain point in August where the doldrums really take over and it becomes unbearable to say the least. Or the most because the “unbearable” is the height of hyperbole but “hyperbole” is my middle name so let’s do this.

doldrums in literature.

The first time I heard the word “doldrums” as a child was in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. No idea why I was reading that as a child but it does heavily feature an albatross and I was prob like “Holy shit there’s a giant ass bird involved?! Sign me up, obviously.”

However, I just looked up the poem to review it for fact checking purposes and the word “doldrums” doesn’t appear to ACTUALLY be in it. I DID just scan it and it’s very long so maybe it’s in there somewhere, I don’t know. An additional google search did confirm that they’re in the doldrums though. And the language of the poem invokes a doldrums vibe.

So there.

Maybe my Grammie just told me about it and that’s where I got “doldrums” from.

That’s what happened with Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I spotted the book on her shelf and showed a great deal of interest so then she told me all about it and the next day we were shopping in New Hope and I ended up with a seagull necklace. I wish I could find that seagull necklace as I would stil totally rock a seagull necklace even though seagulls are straight up dicks. What is Jonathan Livingston Seagull even ABOUT? I’ll have to google.

I DO know that it’s not about the doldrums so I’ll look it up later.

The next literary confirmation of the existence of the doldrums came in The Phantom Tollbooth when the little bored dude/star of the story enters The Doldrums.

If you knew me in 5th grade you would know that I stan The Phantom Tollbooth SO FREAKIN HARD so you better believe I was PUMPED AF when I turned a page and they mentioned “The Doldrums.” I looked around the class in disbelief like “did Norton Juster write this FOR me or WHAT?!”

He didn’t.

But The Doldrums were then fully defined for me. And I would never forget them.

Maybe I end up here in The Doldrums because I don’t pay attention.

doldrums in life.

In a lot of ways I feel like I experienced “doldrums” many times before I even had a word for them. I’ve always been moody, prone to melancholy as they would say in Victorian times (I guess). Like, women jumping off cliffs out of despair in the times before there was both acknowledgement of and effective medical treatment for mental illness – that makes perfect sense to me.

If you don’t think of me like that it’s because I’m good at smiling and pretending and laughing. Most of us are. But there are times when it gets harder to pretend and summer doldrums are one of those times.

I just don’t feel like doing anything. Nothing at all. The whole world seems too hot but in a way that isn’t fun or interesting. It’s just thick and hot and very still and there is no movement. The sun beats down relentlessly. I love the sun and all it does for me but sometimes I’m like shut up already. I don’t know why that happens.

Also, by this point in the summer it feels like the summer is now slipping away because we’re more than halfway through. I think that adds to the summer doldrums in a way. It’s moving too slowly and sluggishly but we WANT it to move slowly and sluggishly because we don’t want summer to end but we HATE the pace of slow and sluggish. By “we” I mean “me.” But maybe you, too. I don’t know your life.

When I first heard the Lana del Rey song “Summertime Sadness” I felt another spark of connection to the way I feel during this part of the year. It’s summertime which I love but there’s also sadness. A sadness without reason. A sadness that will not go away until the middle of September, no matter how hard I try to expel it.

Okay when I looked this up, AFTER I had written the above stuff about understanding why depressed women of the past jumped off cliffs, some rando said that Lana wrote this song about a friend that jumped off a bridge. Not sure that’s true but what the hell.

So I sit here in these doldrums, in these dog days, and dream about a happier time. Keep in mind that nothing ACTUALLY SAD is happening. It’s just a feeling, a state of mind. I feel tired and bored and uninspired. I cry a lot. I can no longer stand the sounds and smells of living in a city and I flee to the forest of my origin.

Only smiling because: 1. Fled to the forest. 2. Positioned myself by a river.

Just normal, healthy, regular person stuff.

I do think the only way to power through is to set myself up with the least amount of annoying shit around me. It has helped IMMENSELY that I didn’t have to commute at all this summer. Commuting is trash and doing it at this point in the summer is a literal nightmare. As I already mentioned, I’ve also found ways to escape the annoying sounds and smells and presence of neighbors that really irritate me in the city.

And I am lucky. It’s only a few more weeks, and I think I can make it while also having some summer fun in the process, but it just feels really rough right now. In a way I’m almost unable to explain because I wrote this whole post and still don’t feel like I fully explained it.

Basically I feel like shit, I blame the mysterious and terrible “summer doldrums,” and I can’t fully explain it. That’s what I’m saying.

I’m also wondering if YOU feel this way. I’m always looking for kindred spirits and like-minded pals I can commiserate with. Commiseration nation. Is the nation in which I have stabbed my Shan flag into the ground. Please join me. Let me know I guess.