Tuesday, December 27, 2011

fake tales of san francisco

Have you ever wanted to pick up and move to a brand new place? A place where absolutely no one knows you? Has never seen your face? Never saw you hit on and subsequently get rejected by your co-worker when you were really drunk at that holiday party? Would you like to escape from your current reputation as the pessimist with a useless degree trapped in a sea of scarves and graphic t-shirts that never stay folded for more than seven seconds at a time?
oh wait Daria had talent and an actual future in sight
Well, you're not alone. Every time I become desperately unhappy with my current situation (so basically the past year I've been repeatedly screamed at by tourists because I only speak English and some Spanish), I think of packing up only the essentials and moving far, far away, usually to California. How amazing would it be to reinvent myself and start over?  To create a blatantly false backstory and lie my way to friendship?


new york new york it's a hell of a town
I vaguely attempted to recreate myself when I first started college. The entire summer leading up to my freshman year was spent psyching myself up to play open mic nights and recite poetry and sing in public and actually make friends.  I spent those three months practicing "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" on guitar and creating a new wardrobe and 'being an artist.'  September eventually rolled around and I really tried, for about a week. I was 200 miles away from home, and ready to be the cool kind of tortured artist. I soon realized that if you have to map out a game plan to be cool, you're probably someone who still has a Xanga in 2011.

My first week at school, I played guitar loudly in my room in the hopes that someone would knock on my door and want to talk to me? Try to start a band? Fall in love with me? Isn't that how it works in movies? I really don't know where I was going with that one because knowing how to play guitar is as rare as Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film.  It didn't work. No one even asked me to stop playing, which is the worst kind of rejection there is.

Instead, I decided that since none of the other kids on my floor were going out of their way to meet me, I was going to have to go out of my way to meet them.  One night I found myself in some guy's dorm room, sitting on his bed while he droned on and on about a bunch of screamo bands as I made an earnest attempt to not punch him in the dick. I was part of a large group, but I was also the only one who remained mute the entire night.  Everyone else was making small talk and laughing and bonding while I was sitting in a corner, my eyes boring into our host's comforter as I made an attempt at Being Cool aka pretending to ignore everything that was going on around me. Because I was sitting a considerable distance from the door, there was no way to gracefully exit the room without having to step over at least 7 other people who I would later avoid eye contact with for the rest of the school year.  In retrospect I probably could've just said goodnight and left the room, but because I was so terrified of the idea of everyone talking about me as soon as I left, I became the creepy, silent mouth breather attached to the darkest corner. I wouldn't leave the room until everyone else did first.

By the time 2am rolled around and everyone slowly made their way back to their respective dorms I was ready to transfer to a community college back home and move in with my cats. 

From that point on I decided to stick with my roommate and latch onto her friends. This is an annoying quality to have and something I've since abandoned but at the time it was really useful in helping me not be a total recluse. Despite my measly attempts at becoming the Life Of The Party that I never was in high school, I came to realize that sometimes life is like a Hallmark card and there's no point in forcing myself to be someone I'm not.  The truth is while I would rather break a thousand mirrors than look into one, I don't think of myself as a total failure of a human being. After accepting my fate as the special kind of sap who cries over toilet paper commercials, I decided to give up the charade and stick it out. I already had at least 2 friends which is just as many as Harry Potter had. That is success enough.

I understand getting out of your comfort zone, but I don't need to move 3000 miles away to do that. I can do something simple like leave my apartment on my days off instead of staying in. Would moving away from the few friendships it took me months to cultivate really be all that beneficial?  Am I really going to become a new person just because I'm in a new climate? What about my gerbil?

.

Friday, September 23, 2011

i drive myself crazy thinking of nsync lyrics

A month or so before my 13th birthday was the release of Nsync's final studio album, Celebrity.  I remember going to the now defunct electronics store, The Wiz (RIP), and buying a copy of it as soon as the store opened, fearful there wouldn't be enough copies to go around if I chose to get there any later than the ass crack of dawn (I was the only customer in the store; no one cared).

pictured: me as soon as I bought Celebrity
I listened to Celebrity obsessively, making sure to replay the songs about love and/or heartbreak until my parents threatened to give me the sex talk. I started listening via CD player so they never had to.

I used to think love songs were really romantic because the lyrics were pretty much ripped verbatim from the Livejournal entries I used to dedicate to the countless boys I was hopelessly in like with back when I was 13 and 16 and probably up until last week. Unrequited love brings the shady out of even the most emotionally stable of people.

I had a huge crush on about 87 different boys at the time and the song "Something Like You" was pretty much written about each and every one of them except for the part where the boy liked me back. I remember writing the lyrics out in my old diary that I've since physically torn apart and lit on fire and thrown away.  I still picture a black sky and a sandy white beach because of these really poignant lines:

So many times I thought I held it in my hands
But just like grains of sand
Love slipped through my
fingers

above: photo no doubt tacked onto Nsync's very own "inspiration board"
As a pathetic 12 year old love seemed like this magical entity that would be bestowed upon me as soon as I hit puberty.  I wasn't ready to be put under love's spellbinding power, but I knew I'd be fully prepared for it so long as I continued to listen to sappy love songs that I couldn't relate to.

About an hour ago, Nsync's "Selfish" (also off the hugely underrated and unappreciated, Celebrity) came up on shuffle. Just kidding, I hardly ever put my iTunes on shuffle; I was listening to it voluntarily. But as I listened to it, I realized I was actually hearing the lyrics for the first time.


Let's take a look:

i'll be taking up your time
til the day i make you realize
that for you there could be no one else
I've just gotta have you for myself

The song immediately takes a turn for the possessive. Simple persistence, you say? Fine. It gets worse. Take it to the bridge:

why do you keep us apart????
why won't you give up your heart????
you know that we're meant to be together
why do you push me away???
all that i want is to give you love
....

forever...

and ever...

and ever...

AND EVER.......

As the crescendo builds toward the last "and ever" a chill shimmies down my spine. The guy singing the bridge part of this song is most likely a 40 year old heavy mouth breather living in a basement apartment with photos of you plastered all over his homemade darkroom.  Society views him as well adjusted and even friendly until someone takes a closer look at the simple, woven bracelet he never seems to take off his wrist or leave uncovered for very long.  Is that... human hair... or...?

Chris Kirkpatrick's shiny teeth and him

At least "Something Like You" is saccharinely sweet in a desperate sort of way, and not as possessive and creepy as "Selfish." Don't get me started on "Digital Get Down" or even "Up Against the Wall." Cyber sex and random club sex???? I kind of expected it from Justin, but the rest of you??? Et Tu Joey???  Won't anyone think of the children??? or at least the parents of said children? I don't know how mine can look me in the eye after hearing me sing along to the Spice Girls' "2 Become 1" so many times. Oh God. I really don't know who should be more embarrassed. Crawling in my skin; these wounds they will not heal.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

if you're reading this, you've never said any of these things to me. probably

You know what will singlehandedly send me into a tizzy of fury and runny mascara? The backhanded compliment.

is this the real life is this just fantasy

Over the years I've made friends with plenty of people who don't know how to end a compliment before it veers off into tear inducing territory. The smile that goes along with the backhanded compliment is pertinent to a successful delivery.  It confuses the victim into accepting the statement made, forcing her to mull it over in deep thought for hours/days/months/until death.

Here are 4 of my all time personal favorites:

1) "Your nose is really big but it goes well with your features."

When I was 14 (and also before and after that time) I was very down on my appearance, mostly because I was fucking ugly. For some forgotten reason, however, I always liked my nose.  It seemed to fit on my face well, didn't take up too much space and wasn't crooked or hairy like the rest of me.  Then I met someone in 9th grade who introduced me to the atrocity that had been my nose all along.  Rather than not say anything at all, she made known her observation that my nose was equivalent to the sun, as my features were merely orbiting around its giant-ness.

me circa 2002
Trying to disguise this insult with the clause of "it goes well with your features" is bullshit to infinity and beyond. Everyone knows what that means. It means god created rhinoplasty for a reason, and that you are that reason.

2) "You cut your hair!!!!! Don't worry it'll grow back"

I love my hair, but I recently chopped most of it off in a fit of compulsion and sweat. I'd been toying with the idea of cutting my hair short for 3 years and finally decided to do it because hair grows. When my mother was in her 20s she did the same thing and she said it gave her the confidence she needed to be an adult or whatever, I don't know. Anyway, the cut came out pretty well, and it didn't even bother me that hardly anyone noticed.

Until one of the few people who did notice quickly assured me that my long locks would be back in no time.

I'm so sorry, Felicity. I understand now
I was not previously worried, but sure.

3) "You're so lucky you don't get hit on as often as I do."

Beautiful people have it the hardest, don't they? They're helped first, hired first, given things, Jon Hamm. I'm sure it's incredibly tiring to have people focus and comment on their appearance so much. How annoying to not have to try so hard to get someone's attention. I can't even imagine a life where customers from work don't refer to me as the chubby brunette.

who needs beauty when you have a blog
I'm mostly kidding, I know plenty of attractive people who are also not shitty, but really, what is this comment trying to tell me? I'm lucky no one ever does a double take when I walk down the street? This is only favorable when I'm throwing up on sidewalks or falling down stairs. Is it supposed to be great that I typically don't even get as far as rejection because the disinterest is so apparent? That in college I spent more time in the dining hall than a stranger's dorm room?? I may not have crazy stories to tell, but I sure did write some lame poems last year.

4) "Blogs are stupid and pathetic. Yours is funny though!"

You're so vain you probably think this post is about you.  That's because it is.

Friday, April 1, 2011

d-a-m-a-g-e-d

The human mind is incredible when it comes to coping with trauma. Often, it suppresses the truly damaging memories, like walking in on your parents having sex for the third time in the same week.

luckily my parents hate each other so this has never been a real problem for me
A few of my own semi-suppressed memories have been popping up lately, probably because I've been bored enough to warrant masochism due to lack of social activity. One recollection in particular stands out among the other cringe-worthy sequences, and lucky for the 3 people who read this blog you will soon be able to laugh aloud at the pain of my teenage years much like the assholes who made fun of me in middle school. and high school. and also a little in college.

In my high school we had mandatory drama courses.  Our very cool drama teacher seemed to offset the inherent dread felt by everyone but myself and a few other attention seeking douches who actually liked the class.  One of our assignments was to prepare and act out a monologue.  Simple, straightforward, should've picked something from the Aristocats as even that would've been less embarrassing than what I chose.

everybody wants to be a cat, especially furries
I, the uncool nerd from the very start, decided to perform something I'd written myself. Surely this would set me apart from my other classmates! Being talented beyond my years would give me the popularity I craved, the popularity that kids who watched MTV possessed. Truth be told, that kind of talent probably would've earned me a small fan-base from some fellow losers, but the problem was that I didn't have much to begin with.

The day of our performances is a day that lives in infamy (in my mind alone). I don't even know what triggered the memory to float back into my consciousness but here it is in all its secondhand embarrassment.  I was wearing a gigantic mint-green fleece sweater from Lands End, which somehow clung to every roll of fat on my teen-aged body. I paired this beauty with a pair of exaggerated flared jeans from Old Navy.  I looked like the Michelin man doused in mint toothpaste trapped in the 70s. I also had band aids covering the tips of every one of my fingers, but that is an entirely more disturbing story for a more troubling blog post at a more desperate time.

As soon as my name was called I hobbled up to the stage and tried to jump up like all the cool kids did, but failed and simply rolled up onto it, as I could find no better way of getting up there. Like taking the stairs.


I don't remember much of the composition but I do remember the last line, "...and I woke up [dramatic pause] to my nightmare." I was supremely proud of this shocking, twist ending and thought of myself as a modern day Edgar Allan Poe: so creative, so haunting, so pale.

Actually, I do remember the gist of what I wrote which is this: the first person narrator was abducted and tortured by strange creatures with red glowing eyes. At some point s/he blacked out (probably due to the mass amounts of specified torture) and woke up, relieved it had all been a dream! A nightmare! but no, in an instant I M. Night Shyamaland everyone's asses and had a super awesome twist ending: It was true!! It was all so painful and real!! and the pain of my performance was very real, too.

Halfway through my monologue, the Class Douche's phone went off. I know he did this on purpose to torture me. Not only was I the new girl, I was the weird girl obsessed with her cats. I soldiered through his customized ringtone and finished to dead silence...Except for my teacher, who later asked me if I'd ever considered a career in writing (he was later fired for abusing drugs).

the cool teacher isn't always so cool. case in point: glee
I knew it was all over. I would forever be the weirdo with the bandaged fingers and the creepy monologue and the sick cat. I never wore that fleece sweater again. I stopped trying to be cool (kept on wishing) and I found out who my friends were pretty quick (fellow losers - a blessing in disguise).

but I did keep writing. I even went on to get a degree in writing, and a year later I work in retail part time and live at home with my parents. Then this long forgotten memory emerged, and I woke up to my nightmare.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

making something out of nothing

You know that feeling when you eat your last Swedish Fish and you don't even realize it? You reach back into the bag only to find zero candy left, when you thought there were at least ten. Instant regret and shame washes over you - you didn't have time to savor the medicinal-cherry flavor or the gummy, scaly texture. You want more, but all the stores are closed and also you're very lazy and judging by the cool draft coming from your window it's too cold to walk more than .5 blocks for another King Size bag, considering the one you just finished lasted less than 24 hours. Remorse, guilt, emptiness, loss and lethargy are the instant results from your greed.

my idea of paradise
Then you realize this is what your life has come to. Last summer, the world was your oyster, this city was your dream-vehicle, your destination driver, your Future-enabler, insert better metaphor here. You were supposed to get out 'there' (vague on purpose because 'there'  could be anywhere!) and do 'it' (also known as 'achieving your dreams'). You quickly realized that you didn't have any dreams, and also that you'd screwed yourself over significantly while in college because you didn't really do anything. At all.

While your friends were busy finding internships, jobs, extracurricular activities, etc. you were busy watching hours of Criminal Minds on your computer or stuffing your face with macarons until you started choking on your own saliva. You also did a lot of retail therapy and crying. You spent your last year of college making sure you were as unprepared as humanly possible once the real world came knocking at your door.  Somewhere in the distant recesses of your mind you knew it was a bad idea to leave everything until after college, but you made excuses for yourself like "I'm going to do open-mics when I get back and become famous who needs a clear life-path" or "I'm going to be famous somehow using the internet even though I have no particular skills or talents" or "I'm going to start a blog!"


It became a growing concern after a while, but instead of facing the problem you decided to ignore it away with cookies and shopping. You slowly devolved into a lesser version of yourself, only leaving your apartment to go to class or scope out local shops to find out their peak hours of floor traffic, in order to avoid as many people as possible. After months of sloth-like behaviors and smells, you decided to be productive by waking up at 730am and going to the gym since fewer people would be there, torturing themselves, at 8am and go straight to class afterward. This stopped after a few weeks.

pictured: overachiever
You complained about college, missed New York City and 24 hour everything, and wanted to get away and get started on Real Life.  But then you slowly realized that Real Life probably should've been prefaced with some sort of interest in your so called future, where you made an attempt to you know, do something with your life before it was too late. Now you're stuck in retail making 200 dollars a month (but in case anyone sees this you love your job and coworkers!!). You don't have the drive, the independence, the goals or the references. You have nothing.

But sometimes you have to make something out of nothing. I've had less than nothing to write about these past few days because it just hit me that I've been doing less than nothing since my junior year of college. That's when the world came to a slow and I decided against moving it forward.  Because it's easier to do nothing when you're scared. but am I really still throwing myself pity parties? This is America -- How many other places even have king sized bags of Swedish Fish?

It's time to wake up. To wake up and realize that alcohol as a social lubricant is not always going to be readily available to me. I'm not famous enough for that yet. and I'll never get there if I keep wallowing in self-pity.