Tag Archives: but seriously

Have the Second Damn Piece of Pizza

Friday night is supposed to be Pizza Night.

You know if you eat just one slice you’re going to feel like you’re still hungry in a few minutes. Better yet, someone else at the table will forget the unspoken dining rules and take what is clearly marked as your hunk of cheesy goodness because you all know you’re splitting the bill evenly anyway, and they know if they just keep the conversation going, everyone will lose track of who had what.

Everyone except you, that is. Because you notice, and because you’ve faced this before.

You’ve fought hard, and it’s an ongoing fight, but not just against the freeloader in your friend-group. You’ve fought against the mental numbers in your head.

The number of minutes you’ll need to exercise to work off the combination of dough and cheese (and mighty fine pepperoni, if you’re lucky), which leads your brain to remember the last time you exercised and chastise yourself on it being a.) too easy or b.) not recent enough. You’re going to stare down that pizza slice growing cold and play the cards out in your head, I just know it. Others at the table are relaxing over a meal, but you’re silently bargaining with yourself that if you do this, if you indulge in the American peace offering of cheesy perfection, that you’ll be really good tomorrow. You know, like, wife-of-a-celebrity good. You’ll eat things with whole grains and vitamins that you read about in the Get-Fit-Now book you never finished, and you’ll make your own salad dressing because you also heard Ranch makes you fat, even though dipping in it is the Southern equivalent of adding salt to your food- and Oh! SALT!- you’ll cut back on that, too. And while you’re at it, you’ll hide the breakup ice cream in the back of your freezer that you haven’t finished yet- because you have decided that you can take as long as you want to get over him- when you get home, and you’ll finally go to that spin class your coworker said had the cute instructor. This slice of pizza could change your life, you swear, for the better, because it’ll be the last piece of happiness you enjoy before you swear your existence away to bikini-body-boot-camp workouts you found on the internet coupled with a juice cleanse that you scored a Groupon for. Not eating this pizza slice could be the story that you tell your girlfriends about when they say you’re looking skinny weeks from now, or the experience that puts you ahead at your next High School Reunion, or the reason that guy finally asks you out next week.

I know– it’s a lot, right? An awful lot for just a piece of pizza.

Almost too much.

You ignore the greasy triangle you claimed earlier and you try and jump back into the conversation with your friends like you didn’t just live a whole week of choices and debates in your head, but it’s exhausting.

It’s overwhelming, it’s unfair, and it’s not adding any goodness to your life, but you know what will? Dismissing everything and grabbing that slice. It’s going to be delicious, and you’re going to live another day.

What matters is that you’re just as focused on how you’re shaping up in the inside- in your gut feelings and thoughts and heart and character- just as much as you are dead-set on visualizing the way that slice will make your thighs look.

Now, I know you’ve heard this before, and I know that Sunday School lessons of ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ have been preached to death, along with body-positive speak that you chanted in Middle School health class, but you still argue with yourself before every meal. You still give in to the accusations against your particular silhouette, you still have to take a deep breath before you look in the mirror, and you still let the numbers on your clothing labels define you. There are still nights where you curse your arms in a sleeveless dress like they called you a bad name and when your mascara runs because the same dress really looked better on the mannequin. You listen to Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” and cry every time, and that’s okay. You know that magazines are photoshopped, but you’re still filled with anger an hour after looking through a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. Accepting yourself isn’t one-and-done and you’re living proof of that, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having to remind yourself of your worth beyond the scale.

But, I do want to convince you that this whole ordeal takes time.

And, if you can spend this much thought, talent, emotion and time on one measly slice of pizza, imagine what your beautiful brain could do with a situation that matters. With a friend’s broken heart. With a passion you should pursue. With a clear look at the things that bring life.

So I guess all I’m saying, from one work-in-progress to another, is take care of yourself.

 

Oh, and have the second damn piece of pizza.

Get Back Up.

You will have days when no matter how you try and style it and pin it back, your hair gets caught in your lipgloss and makes you perform some weird facial acrobatics to get it out and embarrasses you in public in the process. You’ll recover, and in a few weeks you’ll let the woman with the fantastic nail art at the Sephora counter talk you into to a lipstain that lasts all day, and when its constant color really does stay on, you’ll pass this knowledge on to your girlfriends like it’s no big thing, making you the wisest of all at the next Girls’ Night.

You will have days when you don’t want to answer your phone, even if it’s a text or a call from someone you love or an adorable Snapchat of a puppy, just because technology has made you think of instant connection as too impersonal, or you’re too caught up in your own head to answer or respond. It’ll pass, and you’ll respond to each hello and request with the gusto of the 7th grade girl with a pink Motorola Razr cell phone that you used to be, and with your faith in communication restored.

You will have days that are measured in cups of coffee and productivity pep talks, and no matter how much you focus and slam down both, you won’t get anything done. You won’t organize your room, you won’t answer those job emails, you won’t get that rattle in your car fixed, and you won’t even make a dent on your to-do list. You’ll be distracted by nostalgia, by negativity, or by simply beating yourself up over lack of progress. You will fight through these time-stealers and get back to accomplishing things like you were before.

You will have days where you say sorry to everything. Days where you apologize to your dog for not taking him on a walk because it’s raining, apologize to the person behind you in line at the cash register because it took you more than 5 seconds to find that quarter you needed in your purse, or send a Facebook message to an estranged friend from elementary school to apologize for that one thing you said to them on the playground in ’94 that you haven’t been able to shake for years. You will take a deep breath, reevaluate, and realize that although it is good to be forgiving, you are not responsible for every circumstance in life.

You will have days where you need to eat everything in sight. You will shove your shame aside in drivethrus, asking for 2 drinks even though you’re eating alone so that the person working the window thinks the amount of food is for more than 1 person. You will challenge yourself to your own taco-eating contest with the intention of beating your previous college-hangover record. You will get every mix-in possible at the ice cream parlor and you will tackle a whole pizza in one sitting. Whether you’re eating for feelings or for fun, you’ll slow down and look at what you’re consuming again. You’ll remember that balance is key, and even though cheese-on-everything is a personal manta of yours, throwing in something leafy and green is important, too.

You will have days when you can’t sleep because you’re:

  • worried that he hasn’t texted you yet
  • worried about when you’ll start getting wrinkles
  • worried that space and the universe is huge and we haven’t even scratched the surface of what is out there
  • nervous that you heard something go bump in the night
  • embarrassed that you’re still afraid of monsters in your twenties
  • still singing that annoying Luke Bryan or One Direction song you swore you’d never like but now that it’s stuck in your head, you are warming up to it
  • freaking out over what tomorrow’s schedule holds and if you can back out of all your commitments at the last second
  • caffeine-fueled for no good reason
  • scrolling through your phone endlessly and cursing everyone’s instagrams that look like they’re leading a fun-filled life, while you’re already in bed with your zit cream on and retainer in
  • too busy daydreaming about your fake pinterest house while stuck laying in a cheap goodwill or ikea bedframe
  • suddenly hungry but stuck with an empty fridge
  • unsure about your own talents
  • already fearing the alarm clock in the morning

You will find rest. It might take a few days, months, naps, or medication to get you back to sleeping right, but sleeping is so important, and if you’ll put some effort behind it, you’ll be a functional, healthy human again.

You will have days where it is hard to know where to start in expressing your feelings, hard to share the hurt that’s been done to you, and hard to feel like there is a new direction for you to travel. But, even if if is not today or not in this exact place, you will recover. You will be you again, and you will not let anyone else write the next chapter to your story but your own self.

It is not the days that defeat you, but what you do to defeat them and get back up.

It’s Uncool To Be Happy

I’ve tried to think of something light and fun to write, but I can’t do it. I’m upset for a lot of reasons, but today, over my soup, I realized that we’ve given positivity a terrible reputation.

To see the good in situations, to greet each day expecting the best is for suckers. It’s weakness, it’s sentimentality, it’s dumb. It’s uncool to be happy or joyful or excited or hopeful.

But, no one ever tells you how hard you have to fight to be positive.

It’s so easy to be negative. It’s terribly simple to walk into a room and instantly see the bad. Criticism is our universal second language. In school we can’t just read books or look at art or watch films or listen to music and let it all breathe. As soon as we’re done with it, or even when we’re still in the middle, we’re supposed to tear it apart. Find the meaning, find the flaws, discover what’s wrong with it or solve the puzzle…even if there is no solution to be found. Yes, there is marvel and wonder and knowledge in dissecting something beautiful, but there is also a harsh glare on the microscope that we place on things.

And, as if it’s not enough, we put our everyday lives under that same microscope that makes it so easy to be negative.

It’s so easy to put things down, including our choices and circumstances.

I’ve seen the quote, or some version like it, a million times-

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. "

Typically we put 18 Instagram filters on this quote, attribute it to Plato and Buddha and Big Bird, and apply it to people who are stoic and reserved and obviously “going through a rough time”. But what about people who are smiling? We never give them the same treatment- simply believing that if you’re happy, your life must be easy.

If you’re truly happy and seeking joy, you must not have any problems.

Oh how wrong and hurtful that mindset is.

I’m not asking anyone to take pity on me and I don’t want to do gruesome details, but I feel like I’m in such an easy place to schedule a breakdown in my life right now. On paper, it would be so easy for me to “justify” being bitter and mad at my circumstances. I could “get away with” being upset and mean to people, and just blame it on my health.  Or my work schedule and ridiculous hours. Or my homesickness for a place that doesn’t exist anymore. Or that today, of all days, is somber and hard to get through. Or the fact that a long distance relationship with different timezones wreaks havoc on the heart. I could parade these things around and throw myself a decent pity party. I mean seriously- I’ve got the supplies. I can wear a black sweatshirt and a scowl, sit in my room and listen to longingly sad playlists, make fun of everyone else’s success, and remove myself from any human interaction except to lash out occasionally at someone who did nothing to deserve it.

But…that’s too easy.

I can’t guarantee everything will be brightly colored ice cream cones. I can’t laugh at every situation just yet, but I can fight tooth and nail to be positive. Being happy isn’t easy for everyone, no matter how much it feels that way in the moment. Expecting the best is a choice, and it’s a decision to wake up every single day and speak gently, hope patiently, and love with reckless abandon. To treat everything with goodness is frankly, hard, when your emotions don’t match up with it, but oh how much good it does for the soul in return.

I long to be positive. I yearn to be positive. I use big sweeping words like these because I don’t know any other way to put it. Call me crazy or a dreamer, unrealistic, a hippie, naiive or restless, but I want to see the good, even if it takes more work.

I want to breathe in deep and exhale slowly and count my blessings.

I want to give a startlingly hopeful answer when someone asks how my day is going.

I want to hold on to my heart.

I want to change positivity’s reputation.

A Bittersweet Follow-Through

You can’t brace yourself for heartache.

You just can’t. You can’t will yourself to feel sad when something hasn’t happened yet. No matter how many Ryan Adams, Aretha Franklin, Damien Rice, and Feist records you spin, you can’t transport yourself to a lyrical place that doesn’t quite exist. You can get close, if you really try. You can almost pull the covers over your eyes and shut out all the light and pretend you’re overwhelmed, but it’s not worth it, because that little bit of light will peek in, and you’ll remember that there’s no reason to be upset yet. There’s no reason to worry and shut down in anticipation. There’s no reason to jump to conclusions, because, especially when you’re a type-A sentimental sap, the feelings will come.

One of the greatest people I’ve ever met is moving, and this should be nothing new to me. My dumbed-down advice to anyone in your twenties is: be prepared to move, in every way. You’ll leave college, you’ll move away from old trends and to new ones, you’ll watch friends pack up and go, you’ll say goodbye to your parents, goodbye to your family pets, and goodbye to towns you made your own. But you’ll also leave temporary jobs that didn’t fit, you’ll run from bad relationships as fast as you can because your baggage is light, you’ll float around with less responsibility, and you’ll find joy in moving as well, as you move closer towards becoming the person you want to be. It’s a lot to process, never feeling like you have roots, but there’s an exhilarating freedom at the same time.

Bittersweet- isn’t that always it? There’s a fear in watching your taillights drive away and not knowing when I’ll see them again, but there’s such a joy in knowing that you’re going after something you’ve worked almost 25 years for and that you truly care about. I want to be sad, but that’s too selfish for this, because you’re leaving on the best terms.

You told me almost a year ago that you were watching Arrested Development and I invited myself over. You told me 2 weeks later that you were planning to move away to Seattle to chase a dream, and I told you okay. You grew a mustache, I applied to a million jobs. You took all your past scars and turned them into well-crafted music, and my cynicism of relationships melted away. They say the truth will set you free but first it will piss you off, and Lord knows you learned me well enough to make me a better woman, even if sometimes it took bringing up the worst to get there. Now a few hundred cups of coffee (yours: always black, mine: dirty blonde), tambourine solos, late night walks, glasses of good whiskey, rambling phone calls, concerts (yours: sad/longing, mine: loud/obnoxious), celebrations, dances in the kitchen, cheese plates, midnight kisses, endless talks about the best recording gear and/or speakers, bad jokes, new friends, and nights of enduring my Beyoncé singalongs later – you’re following through, and I couldn’t be prouder.

So I won’t rush it. I won’t fall apart nor act overly tough- I’ll just let it be.

I couldn’t brace myself for you arriving, and I can’t brace myself for you leaving, but for now I can at least save the bitter and relish in the sweet.

Because unlike so many people who promise and never deliver, you actually did it, and what a thing it is.

I Will Never Write A Post About Crafting (Or, I Hate Waiting)

I learned long ago that “DIY” is not one of my strong suits.

My attention span is usually too short to craft, meaning that I leave projects half done, haphazardly put together and glue gun still plugged in, whenever something shiny passes by. I can’t focus on one thing because I find it easier to focus on 7 things, and so I’m half covered in glitter and full of great ideas, but never ending up with a final product and never thinking anything through to completion.

I would create more adorable home accents, but everytime I peruse my carefullly-curated Pinterest boards or favorite craft blogs, I end up seeing the finished products at Target and it’s so hard for me to not just buy them on site, thinking of all the time saved and frustation avoided, because when it comes to creating- though it pains me to admit – I’m not big on time spent. Call it a product of the internet generation coupled with my non-existent patience, but I absolutely hate waiting.

I mean, I HATE waiting.

I always smudge my nail polish because I move my hands too soon before it dries, I can never get my car all the way dry in the car wash because I’m ready to keep driving, and I have a compulsion to read books all in one sitting because I want to get to the next chapter and move the plot along.

I’ve been known to set out my clothes for a special event days earlier, as if preparing would speed up the calendar, and I have a long list of tactics and games to play while waiting in line, so that I don’t notice the time. I can tell you the roads to take that keep traffic moving, so that even if they end up taking more time to get to your destination in the long run, you never had to physically stop.

But, life is in a waiting period right now, and it’s driving me crazy. I’m not quite new in town but not quite a ‘local’, so I’m waiting for that transition. I’m still waiting on a job that aligns with my dreams a little more closely, or is at least full time. Plus, this whole bizarre stage is even more inviting, because everyone I know is here too. We’re all stuck in this waiting room of our twenties, falling between childhood and adulthood and waiting for the glue to dry. We’re not quite comfortable because we’re expecting the next thing and still looking for the big break.

Of course, there’s guarantee that the big deal will get signed or that we’ll become everything we dreamed, but what reason would there be to even get out of bed if we didn’t expect it? What motivation would there be if we weren’t hoping that something bigger was coming? Why would we ever try if we didn’t think there was even a .01% chance that the almost-meaningless tasks of our day would eventually lead to something even better?

So, what is there to do except swallow the bitter pill of not being settled and hang a few curtains and call this waiting room home? Because it’s going to be more ‘almosts’ and more rejection and more part-time and more waiting and waiting and waiting, but at the very least we can give it a good soundtrack and spruce up the place and write it down so that someday when we’re all on a big porch drinking the sweet tea of adulthood, we can remember that it came from sleepless nights and watching the clock and the comraderie that can only come from wishing and hoping and hustling and waiting and waiting and, yes, waiting.

As I get older (and hopefully wiser), I will try and craft, just for the heck of it. I will spray paint my bed frame gold and barely make a friendship bracelet and maybe stain a wooden table, but more than anything, I will go ahead and buy the confetti, because when this wait is finally over, I can promise you, cross my Texas heart, that I am going to throw the whole entire bag of it into the air.

Things I Have Been Irrationally Afraid Of

I’m not here to laugh at real anxiety, because I suffer from it. But let’s be honest and say that I am not the best at judging fears and every now and then you have to take a step back and actually realize what it is that scares you and go, “really?”.

Here’s a small (not complete by any means) list of things I have been irrationally afraid of (or am currently still afraid of):

Animatonic Santas

Doodles, the old chicken mascot for Chik-Fil-A

The Chuck E. Cheese gang of animals on the stage

Disneyworld, there’s just a lot happening

Basically anyone or anything in a mascot suit, always

The boulder from Indiana Jones showing up in my real life and crushing me

Accidentally being in the HOV lane illegally and not realizing it because the lanes are different in Tennessee

My moccasins becoming untied and me tripping over the strings

Sending a typo in a job-related email

Getting a cavity

The blades of my fan falling on me while I sleep

LEAVING MY CURLING IRON ON ACCIDENTALLY AND BURNING THE HOUSE DOWN

Someday being in a band that takes requests and then not knowing the song someone in the audience requested

Serving someone food that I made and them having an intense allergic reaction to it immediately

Losing my retainer in the ocean while scuba diving*

Living my whole life without knowing that I’ve been recorded 24/7 like The Truman Show

Running out of gas on any road, anywhere, as soon as my gas light comes on

My phone battery dying at the DMV

My phone battery dying while I am in line at the Post Office

My phone battery dying and there suddenly appears a puppy that I want a picture of

Getting to the register at any store to pay with a giftcard and finding out the giftcard has a balance of $0.00

Drinking something that is too hot and burning my tastebuds off forever, never getting to enjoy food ever again

Making a classic rock musical reference and no one getting it

Making a Buffy reference and no one getting it

Making an Arrested Development reference and no one getting it

Making references to things, in general

Clowns

Someone reading my own blog aloud to me on a loop, forever

Missing one tiny patch of hair while shaving my legs and everyone staring at it later

Trying to separate my trash at Whole Foods into compost and recyclable and putting the wrong material in the wrong bin**

My foot falling asleep AND THEN NEVER WAKING UP

Becoming famous for something really dumb

Finding a secret passageway to another vortex or a time machine but no one believing me

The working world one day decides to start taking grades like high school all over again

Basically any version of “high school all over again”

Whales

My alma mater calling me up and saying, “Hey, remember that college degree you got? Joke’s on you! Totally photoshopped!”

Not drinking enough water and turning into a human cactus

Washing a piece of clothing that clearly says “Dry Clean Only” and like, the Laundry Police showing up and arresting me

Being the only person off beat in a crowd clapping situation

The bottle of hair dye I bought ends up being straight bleach/lacquer thinner

Breaking a ukulele string

Writing the wrong amount on a check

Calling someone my best friend or boyfriend and them totally not agreeing and looking at me like a crazy person

Toe socks

Sneezing while getting a tattoo and it being messed up…FOREVER

Never getting a real job and forever being an intern/assistant and then just turning 80 and being like, well, I tried

Putting too much garlic salt and/or sriracha and/or cheese on something and ruining it

Just kidding. What’s “too much cheese”?

*I’ve come extremely close
**And everyone there laughing at me for not knowing what goes where, everyone in their perfect hipster Whole Foods outfits and fixed gear bikes

Things Girlfriends Do

I was never given the manual on this.

You know, “The Girlfriend Manual”.

I was never told how many days I wait before I call you ‘official’, before I move you to my phone’s “favorites”, before I see something at a store and mentally bookmark it as a gift I want to buy for you later.

I was never told if I’m supposed to draw your name with hearts on my notebook, steal your jacket to wear, if I’m supposed to change my Facebook profile status, or put “#blessed” as the caption of every photo of us.

I don’t know the appropriate responses or have the scrapbooking material for “The Story Of Us” and I don’t know where to get them.

And then, of course, there’s the rules.

If I make you dinner, I’m revoking all my feminist powers. If I lean over to kiss you at a stoplight while it’s red, I’m too touchy-feely. If I agree with you, I have no opinion of my own, but if I disagree too much, I’m mean and bitchy. If I call you daily or, heaven forbid, text you two times in a row before you respond to the first one, I’m clingy. If I make you a mix cd, I’m cheesy. If I make you pay, I’m old fashioned. If I ask to split the check, I’m not grateful and am insulting your job and manhood. If I offer to pay, I’m emasculating you. If I buy you clothing, I’m too mothering. If I introduce you to my parents, I’m moving too fast. If I don’t introduce you to my parents, I’m not interested at all. If I like what you like or try to understand your interests, I’m trying too hard. If I don’t like what you like, then we have nothing in common and are doomed to fail. If I ask who that girl was, I’m jealous. If I don’t ask who that girl was, then later on I’ll be told I “should have seen the signs”. If I talk to other men that aren’t you, I’m a flirt. If I don’t like your friends, I’m a horrible person, but, if I try too hard to “bro” out, then it’s fake. If I get excited and call you my boyfriend and enjoy spending time with you and actually maintain a somewhat traditional stable relationship, then I’m a sucker and just “one of THOSE girls”, but if I’m not interested in a relationship, then there’s something wrong with me.

So it’s a bigger society issue, I guess.  This really is a bigger, more in-depth blog post that I should take more seriously. I should really investigate culture’s laws for “women in relationships” or the way pop culture tells you to be a “girlfriend” or the constant criticism of young women that makes growing up or raising a daughter in this twisted world seem terrifying, but really, I just wanted to say that I’m glad I never got the manual.

Because, from what I can tell, you haven’t read it either, and that puts me at ease.

So, you do you, and I’ll do me, and we’ll figure out ‘us’.

And I ‘ll try to stop writing about it so often, because, that’s probably something girlfriends do.

So very much.

Stacks of waffles with lots of syrup. Afternoons on the couch in your comfy pants, and you go ahead and press the “Play All Episodes” on the dvd menu because you don’t have anything else pressing that day. Asking for help and receiving it. The perfect shade of red lipstick that doesn’t make you look crazy or comical, but instead just works on your skin palette. A warm dog snoring on your feet and you want to move them because they are falling asleep but you don’t wanna wake him up. Gooey hot melted cheese on top of al dente pasta. When someone’s obnoxious ringtone goes off in a quiet place like the DMV or church and everyone tries to hold in laughs. Reading a bible verse or quote that sticks with you. A good haircut. Cups of coffee with the right ratio of sweetness. Sequins on everything. When the quiet person in the room gets up to sing karaoke and totally kills the high notes with finesse. Unexpected hand-written mail. Forehead kisses. Eggs and bacon. Books or movies that people told you were phenomenal, that actually live up to all the hype. A good stiff drink after a long day of stresses. Sunglasses that make you feel like a rockstar when you put them on. Making all the green lights when you really needed to be there on time. Dinner with family, even if it only lasts 15 minutes. Cinnamon toast. When the band finally takes the stage at a concert and plays that first perfect note, and you forget how much your feet hurt from waiting for them for 2 hours + soundcheck. Tall boots and patterned socks. Naps. When your stomach hurts from laughing and you can’t even remember what was so hilarious but you also can’t stop cackling. A good record on a Saturday night. Knowing when to say no and sticking to it. Old photographs that make you happy thinking about the memories, not sad that they are over. Adventures! Big headphones. Baby animals. Old friends that are on the same page even after years. New friends that click instantly. Coworkers that become friends. Even the friendships and relationships that are hard-won because they took a while to work out. Fires and s’mores. Novelty license plates. Little dates in the afternoon. Theme parks with short lines. Pretending you’re a mermaid in your bathtub even at 22 years old. Getting a second interview and doing that happy dance in your room by yourself. That really good first streeeetttchhhh in the morning when you first wake up. Hyping The Hobbit in 3D. Going to the museum and pretending the dinosaur skeletons are chasing you. Christmas music. Caramel apples. Taking the wisdom of your parents and it paying off. Singing at the top of your lungs. Acknowledging when people are nice and kind to you and telling them and appreciating them right then. Hugs. Walking to dinner. Phone calls from far away and phone calls from the next room over and conversations that you needed to have. Peanut Butter Goo Goo Clusters.

This week has been weirdly emotional. Connecticut was all over my twentysomething newsfeeds, and whatever was said, it was all still so polarizing. I have no words to write about it, no dramatic conclusion, no sweeping outpouring, except that life is small and short and so very often I forget to look around and appreciate it. I spend my time waiting on something to come, or a big career with bright lights, and I am so terribly ridiculously spoiled.  I am a little spec in this big world but I have so much to be thankful for and so much to love.

So very much.

Stay Hungry (I Think)

I think by now the salespeople at Anthropologie just know.

It’s so nice of them to ask me if they can help me or if I need a shopping bag, but when I’m scouring the sales racks for markdowns in my band shirt, thrift-store moccasins, and denim cutoffs that are fraying to no end, I simply think they have to be aware that I will not be purchasing anything priced above $20, so, in that case, my selection is narrowed to maybe 1 salt and pepper shaker and/or a pair of damaged earrings.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to still look at and try on all the pretty dresses, smell every single heaven-scented $75 candle, and caress the handcrafted kitchen collections as if I were Martha Stewart.

So that’s…something?

Every single book I read or blog I bookmark or movie I watch about people in their twenties seems so romantically tragic. Everyone’s broke-as-a-joke but still looks so put together, living in a rundown apartment with “charm” and quirks, working jobs that make no sense with their skillset or seem to “kill their dreams”, but through it all, writing their screenplays or songs or memoirs in hopes that one day they’ll be discovered and successful and their lives will come together and crescendo like a good last song on a decent indie record.

So that’s…real life?

Unfortunately, no one ever actually managed to print the manual on making it through life when you feel like a kid and an adult at once and every single person over the age of 30 that I seem to inquire about their twenties always takes a deep breath or lets out a nervous laugh and says, “oh, you could never pay me to be 22 again.”

So that’s…hopeful?

I wish I could stop writing about my twenties. I wish I could have more useful knowledge than the cheapest parking downtown or the best songs to put on a playlist, but I’m just not there yet. I’m not a Norman Rockwell painting of life experience, but I am, in fact, hungry.

And aren’t I supposed to “stay hungry”?

Staying hungry was always an expression that evaded me. It seemed dumb and worn out and lame- as if hungering would do anything useful. It seemed to sit right next to “starving artist” and I had no patience for that, considering I actually enjoy food and eating, and everyone that I knew that considered themselves “artists” seemed to spend more time complaining about world poverty while ordering overpriced coffee than making actual art.

But I think I’m supposed to be very hungry at 22 right now – whether it’s the hunger for a better job, hunger for figuring out who the heck I’m supposed to be or simply hungering for better plans on a Saturday night. I think the constant dissatisfaction that my twentysomething generation seems to ramble on about, whether it be privileged upper-middle-class bloggers (oh hi!) or blue-collar beer-drinking barstool rants, can be put to good use. Sure, dissatisfaction can breed apathy, but what if it bred “do better” instead? Or at the very least, what if it bred just a little bit of action?

Staying hungry can drive you to something, right? Staying hungry can mean waking up in the middle of the night and sacrificing sleep to write down some semblance of a great idea that actually sounds put together, right? Staying hungry can mean staying late, even at a job you’re not in love with yet to go above and beyond, right? Staying hungry can mean investing your time in real face-to-face relationships instead of online videos and shopping bags, right? Staying hungry can mean having an overwhelming sense of confidence in yourself and your life, even when you’re working for tips or an unpaid internship, right? Staying hungry can literally mean spending too much of your paycheck on concert tickets because you want to work in music and adore it and subsequently convincing yourself the next week that Ramen and toast and coffee is an acceptable diet, right?

And on a totally related note and story that I wish I was making up – my macbook charger literally just died completely while writing this post. So don’t worry, I’ll go ahead and prioritize technology and kiss the rest of my bank account goodbye when I swipe my debit card at the Apple store in the next few days.

But hey, at least I’ll be…hungry?

We Met In A Baggage Claim

I’m very hesitant to write about anything super-personal on the internet.

LOL, JK.

Well, false. I actually share my neuroses and anxieties with y’all all the time, internet, and I wax poetic about my quirks and problems and shortcomings, but I am hesitant to write about anything personal that involves someone else, because then I’m that girl. I’m that girl, airing my relationships for everyone to see, whether the intended party signed up for their name to be strewn across a webpage or not.

But.

I mean, I tried this time.

You see, there’s this little buzz in the back of my head that’s been itching to write about this for a while. Nothing overwhelming, not even the beginning of the whole story, but still something. So, here goes.

The Chicago airport is not where I expected anything significant to happen.

The Chicago airport was supposed to be a stop that didn’t matter, literally, a go-between and maybe a few minutes of me reading an InStyle with an overpriced latte while instagramming a photo of my shoes out of boredom.

But, it was significant.

We met at a baggage claim, which I think describes us maybe better than anything else could. A place that was full of people, full of distraction, and full of constant change. You’re not supposed to spend a long time at a baggage claim, you know. Just grab your bags and move on. By all intents and purposes, we shouldn’t have met. We should have just kept walking across the terminal to our respective locations. I mean, I know we were headed to the same place and probably would have run into each other anyway, but there’s something about suitcase carrier 5 that seemed to change things.

So, we met amidst so many ridiculous things.

I can, of course, remember my outfit and remember my hair color and style at the time, but I don’t remember the first thing you said– only that it made me laugh, and that you continued to make me laugh and distract me from important things. So everything else – people, appointments, cups of coffee – got half of my attention that weekend and even though that might usually cause me anxiety, I thought nothing of it. I’m always all-talk, but you could keep up and you could play along with all my puns and singalongs. We compared things in common and made far too many of the same references and got mad when we agreed too much.

Because, let’s face it, the whole thing was somewhat sickeningly adorable, and you and I were much too cool for that sort of thing. We were both chasing after being independent and renegades and maybe one of us was wearing a ridiculous graphic t-shirt that said “Free Spirit” and taking it a little too close to heart, but still. We were not the sort of people to read Nora Ephron books and believe them, to let romantic comedy plot lines become reality or to take stock in a one-time meeting.

We were supposed to be moving on. Getting on the next plane. Taking our suitcases with us, not opening them and unpacking our lives and talking about important things and agreeing so much.

So, we met in a baggage claim, and I still don’t know what to do about it all.

And now, a couple months and a couple thousand miles later, when you look at me and sing, “we found love in a baggage claim” to the tune of Rihanna’s “We Found Love (In A Hopeless Place)” like you always do, I’ll still roll my eyes, but hey, maybe one day I’ll end up writing it all down and it’ll seem less crazy and less cryptic.

But, probably not.