Thursday, February 13, 2014
Monday, February 10, 2014
The scene is clear in all of our minds, yeah? We're sitting in our post-grad glory, a cup of coffee on the bedside table. Our hair is lightly tousled, we're in an over-sized flannel in some simplistic yet just the right amount of lived-in New York City apartment. There's an old record's music floating around the place (where did we get this record player? that's not important) and we're 'writing' and we count this as 'working.'
And then it happens - we get the email...that beautiful, wild email that says something like:
Thank you for your application to your dream job! Guess what? YOU GOT IT! Say goodbye to those student loans cuz you're gonna make it, baby!"
We tear up a little and we feel like we're in some kind of film montage - we light up a cigarette (when did we start smoking? that's not important) and we go out to the fire escape and our hair dances around our face. A stray cat (which isn't dirty) looks at us and we pet it and we smile and think, "Damn."
We celebrate that evening in the East Village with drinks with our friends and we treat everyone because that paycheck is going to be nice. And everything is okay. It's all going to be okay.
* * *
I was certain this is what my life would be after college and it was perhaps the exact opposite. I graduated NYU with a degree, a massive amount of debt, and zero plans of the future. In my last semester I had planned to move to Ireland (spoiler, it didn't work out), go to grad school, and turn into Amy Adams in Leap Year or something. That plan fell away, and I found myself in December of 2010 packing up my NYC apartment and moving back to the suburbs of Philadelphia to live at home.
This wasn't supposed to happen to me. I mean, I heard it happen to other people all the time -- moving home after college, living in their parent's basements or whatever -- but I was different, right? No, I wasn't, and I moved home and gained ten pounds and spent the hours applying to grad school and hanging out with my blind and old cat.
Months past and I realized I had to do something. I was making no money, living in my high school bedroom, and I was growing more and more miserable everyday. It's pathetic, really. I should have been happy and grateful and eventually I got there -- but that immediate shock of "Oh my gosh. I'm not in school anymore. I'm supposed to be an adult. And I'm not. And I'm alone and I miss my friends and WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?" That shock lasted awhile until my mom finally looked at me and said the dreaded words we all hate to hear -
"You need a job."
So after several months of bumming it I finally swallowed what tiny ounce of pride I had left and applied for a job.
At a deli.
Where my baby sister worked.
I got the job pretty quickly and was the only girl that worked behind the deli counter. I've worked since I was thirteen and working doesn't scare me but this job terrified me. My co-workers were rough men, I had never used a meat slicer in my life, and I'm already an anxious person. But around this time was when my college roommate and I decided at the end of the summer we were going to move to Los Angeles. We bought one-way tickets and thought, "YUP. What the hell, we're going to move across the country with no plan, no anything and try to make a life."
This little beacon of hope - this light was what helped me be at peace with the fact that my seventeen year old sister was training me at a job.
What I learned working at 320 Market was that pride is dangerous and you really have to be careful with it. I never would have expected that I would truly fall in love with that job. I loved my time there (I also hated it at times) but overall it was really a great job. I never stopped humiliating myself there, like the one time this lady asked me for Boar's Head meat and I thought she said "horse head" so I announced to the guys behind the counter, "Can I have half a pound of horse head meat, please?" Why didn't I realize how sick it would be if we provided customers with horse head meat?
But I learned a lot. I learned to not cry when I sliced open my thumb so bad I almost threw up. I learned to stand up for myself when the guys tried to make me blush or say crude things. I learned that no one has their shit figured out and that's fine, to be honest.
And when I finally put in my two weeks notice and began packing for LA, I really felt grateful. I carried that with me to LA and I've learned that work is work and you should never be embarrassed if you don't have this idealized "dream job." Because even when we get this "dream job" we're still going to want something else, something bigger. Something better. There will always be this constant want want want. So instead of constantly stressing myself out that I'm not doing as well as other people my age, I just have to remind myself of how lucky I am. I need to practice being grateful because it doesn't come naturally and this moment isn't going to last. We aren't promised tomorrow so why do I freak myself out so badly? It's just pointless.
If I had never taken that job, if I had let my pride swallow me, I would never have made enough money to move out here and I never would have the most amazing friends, an incredible job and I never would have experienced this. I mean, maybe I would have....I don't know. But I love the way I got here and I never want to discredit it.
Even if it meant having everyone laugh at me for an hour straight because I thought it was normal to serve horse head meat at a deli.
Ya learn, ya know.
* * *
Monday, February 3, 2014
In so many ways loneliness is really, really important.
I was recently flipping through an old journal of mine from when I was thirteen. It is both so sad and so funny and I love reading it because it helps me appreciate where I am right now and how thankful I am that I never, ever, ever, EVER have to go back to middle school. At one point in my journal I write that my sister Rebecca has two of her friends over and I felt "so lonely."
I had friends growing up and I'm definitely an extrovert. I love parties and people and being the center of attention (definitely to a fault). But I remember this loneliness, this real feeling of "I don't know if I have anyone." Even as young as thirteen we feel these things, right? Loneliness is perhaps the most common human condition, right? Because it's not just like, a feeling or emotion. It's this state we are in. Because we can be around tons of people, we can be in a city with hundreds of bodies all around us and still feel really, truly alone.
But it's important to be alone. And it's important in those moments of loneliness to know that "Okay. This is where I am right now. I'm lonely. But I'm okay."
I used to fear loneliness. I don't anymore, to be honest. I used to fear loneliness because I was really just afraid to be by myself. I didn't want to have that moment where I'm forced to look at that the person I was because for so long I hated the person I was. But now, with each year that passes, each moment, I'm learning to love myself and accept myself. I'm learning to understand that I'm not always going to be happy and I'm not always going to be okay. But that in and of itself is fine and it's life or whatever.
So now if I feel loneliness, I know it doesn't necessarily mean I'm actually alone. I think it's good to feel it and not immediately shut it out with distractions. I want to feel it and then just let go of it and know like, it's going to be okay.
It's funny reading that part of my journal now because at this particular moment in my life, I really don't feel very alone. I have amazing friends, a family that lets me know they love me every single day, and I'm....oh my GAWD, dare I say it....happy? Did I just jinx myself? Whatever. Whatever.
But I know I will feel loneliness again, one day, because that's life and that's what happens. I guess I don't know what I'm trying to say with this blog other than I think it's okay to feel lonely sometimes. I don't think that's wrong at all. I think it's okay and I think it's important, because it helps us appreciate the not-lonely moments a little more.
Monday, January 13, 2014
My entire life words have meant so much to me it's kind of crazy. Words create stories which helped my chubby, anxious 11 year old self escape the hell hole that is middle school. Nothing is worse than middle school and I would never ever ever ever ever ever go back there and you can't make me and when I have kids I will completely understand if they want to skip grades 6-8.
As I get older I have realized something about words; they can be the most beautiful thing in the entire world or they can cause deep, real pain. I'm almost 25 and I'm trying be more careful about my words because there's only so many times you can put your foot in your mouth, only so many times you can say something and immediately regret it, your eyes going wide and in your head repeating "Damn damn damn damn damn."
We will always say things we regret because we are flawed humans, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try and be better. I made a list of words/phrases I want to stop saying and I know it's not going to be easy but IS LIFE EASY?? NO OKAY.
Alright, everybody CALM DOWN. This word isn't part of my daily vocabulary but if you tell me you've never said it I would have a hard time believing you. Mostly whenever one of my friends or I have said it, it's in reference to a guy or group of guys at large. Here's how the conversation usually goes:
Friend/me: Ugh, it's so hard to date in LA.
Friend/me: I know right?
Friend/me: Men are such....there's no other word for it...pussies! Like, grow up!
I'm not *proud* of this conversation but it's a pretty common one in general. And I hate myself for using that word and for having this conversation because 1. It's stereotyping and grouping all men together which is incorrect and 2. It's using 'pussy' in a derogatory sense. Because 'pussy' obviously means 1. cats. or 2. vaginas and I'm sorry but both of those are pretty wonderful things. The problem with using 'pussy' as in insult is that you're using a word that is specifically in reference to female genitalia and you're using it to describe someone who is weak, wimpy, and specifically a man who is those things.
A lot of people might just think I'm being overly defensive. But I don't think I am. There are so many words that are common placeholders in our language that we don't even think about.
My sister Rebecca brought this to my attention awhile back with using "guys" to address a group of people, regardless of gender. When you say "hey guys" and you're talking to either a mixed gendered group or just females, you're automatically using the word 'guy' as dominant. This seems super nit picky but I mean, it's true. And it makes you think, you know?
I guess this could be grouped in with 'pussy' but I hate this word so much. I hate it because again, we often use to to describe females or a male who is "weak" or "acting like a little bitch." I don't know one person who enjoys being called a bitch. And if you do, well that's your thang homie. I just know personally, I use this word too often and I hate it and I'm just gonna stop on my own account. I guess it rubs me the wrong way too because I LOVE Beyonce and she has that song where she sings "Bow Down Bitches" and that honestly bothers me so much. Because Beyonce says she's an advocate for female rights and brands herself as a feminist, but she's literally singing a song telling other women to BOW DOWN to her. She's not singing "stand up next to me" she's telling them to bow down. When we 'bow down' to something it is most commonly seen as an act of worship. I LOVE Beyonce but I'm sorry, I'm not going to bow down to her and especially when she calls me a bitch.
3. I'm Going to Kill Myself
This is probably my most over-used phrase and I'm truly ashamed. I have been personally affected by suicide and there is nothing funny or casual about it. It is sickening and has hurt my family deeply and I hate that I can so easily toss around this phrase because it's gross. I don't get offended when other people say it, but because of my own experience with this particular topic I just never ever want to say it again.
4. I'm soooo poooor
No, I'm not. I have access to clean water. I'm never hungry, I have a house, I have a car, I have a job. There is no way in any form that I am 'poor' so I need to stop saying this, I need to start being grateful, and I need to start living my life in ways that can help those who actually are poor. It's stupid that I'm so de-sensitized to this and it's no one's fault but my own.
This post was in no way meant to be a rant or trying to pose as some kind of thesis or me trying to be "smart" - it's just truly what is on my mind and I wanted to write about it so um....yeah. K bye!