Dive bars and dumb boys

Ive mentioned before that i’ve been having a hard time writing about things in my life during the ages 18-21. And then I realized its because I spent so much of it at work. Which sucks! Because that means I was a grown up long before I really wanted to be. Because grown ups spend all their time at work. And that’s what I did. I also spent a lot of time chasing my two friends around a dive bar in town and keeping them away from dirtbag guys. It didn’t work, but I still tried. I tried to keep them from dancing on the bar and taking shots from weird men they didn’t know. I tried to keep them from being groupies to the one band that was actually good that played at this bar and from missing our curfew. 

None of it ever worked. I spent countless nights — on any given weekday — sitting against the chair rail, drinking a soda and giving up on the fact that my friend was on the bar, dancing her heart out. I pulled on her pant leg, “Will you get down?” “What??” She yelled back. This band was far too loud. “We need to go. It’s time.” And I’d point to my wrist even though I was not yet stylish or mature enough to wear a watch. She would hesitate, and reluctantly get off of the bar, to both her and her onlookers dismay. Now to find Shannon. In the back room, perhaps? I worked my way through the crowd in front of the stage to get to the back room. I could smell the weed before I could see the smoke but I was sure she was back there. Ugh, this place is so sketchy, I thought and as I turned around to grab my first friends hand… and she’s just about on the stage. You know what, I would sigh, one of these days I’m leaving them here, I would say as I found Shannon not in the back room, but rather, at a picnic table even further back on the bar’s patio, with guys who were regulars at this place like us, but who I never had the balls to actually talk to. I’d instantly be coined the mother-hen as I pulled Shannon away and drove us all home where we had a sleepover like 12 year olds and shared Shannon’s big bed. 

During this time very few of the kids our age knew about this divey, sketchy bar that we went to. On occasion, our guy friend from high school who i pined over for ten years would come home from college and this bar gave me a great opportunity to talk to him. Sometimes he would bring his friends or his roommates. Everyone he knew was insanely cool. He wasn’t all about those girls who hook up in the bathroom or dance on the bars. He was the guy who I would sit around and draw in class because he was there and he was cute and he was always around. He saw my drawings one day, in my notebook in high school, and instead of being creeped out, he asked me if he could keep one of them. We had known each other since elementary school summer camp, had become fast friends, and here he was, 4 years after high school at a dive bar that gave me a headache from both the band and the incense telling me he still had that picture and asking me to be his girlfriend.

My first kiss went a little like this…

I was almost 19 when I got my first kiss. And I wasn’t even sad about that. Well, maybe a little. I guess I had always wanted one of the (many) boys that I had a crush on to kiss me, but I wouldn’t had even known what to do if they did. So I guess it was better that the first boy to give me my first real kiss wasn’t one of them. 

It was not good, and it lasted several mississippis. It totally took me by surprise. First of all, the guy’s name was Max, and I should have known right there that it would have been a disaster - the only things I knew to be named, “Max,” were all dogs. But, he wasn’t all that bad. 

Second of all, I had big plans for kissing boys - I just wasn’t sure that it was the right time for it. The summer after high school graduation and before college was the best summer ever. Everyone tells you to make the best of it, and this immense pressure builds inside of you. It feels like you have to do and see everything you ever wanted, like after this summer life is over. Laguna beach is on TV, and my friends and I are getting ready for a beach day. Even though Im still pissed off at the world and unsure of what I was doing or where I was going in life, I’m on the Robert Moses with the roof open singing Yellowcard, and all that was on my mind was Field 2, and not the fact that I had never been kissed.

Max and I were kind of set up by my over-bearing childhood acquaintance who tried really hard to be my friend but she was just too cheerful for me and I was all dark and twisty inside. I liked her because she had a lot of the nice-girl qualities I didn’t have. So when she suggested that her guy had a friend who wanted to meet me I didn’t really hesitate to say yes. My friend and I drove to her guy’s house, where both boys were hanging out. We wore our cutest outfits - skirts, tank tops, ugg boots, and me of course in my denim jacket. I was just so awkward in life, I’m laughing at myself just thinking about how ridiculous this “hang-out” ended up. We didn’t hang out at all. We watched TV for about, three minutes in this guy’s basement. The boys were drinking beers and this weird moment happens when the guys give each other “the look.” I hate this look. I’m not a stupid girl, and any girl who claims to have never seen this look given between two guy friends is lying. This “look” is like the go ahead signal — instant validation or, on the flip side, instant rejection from one friend to another. The immediate reaction based on his friends first impression of you. I wasn’t used to seeing a positive response so this thumbs up look with his eyes took me by complete surprise. Max asked me if I wanted to see some video clip we had been talking about on the computer, which conveniently happened to be in the next room. I didn’t even get the chance to respond, Max just grabbed my hand (Oh my god!) and whisked me into the next room where he sat on the office chair and told me to sit on his lap (Are you serious?!), which I did. As the video loaded, Max and I were talking about nonsense, and he grabs my face, mid-sentance, and literally shoved his face into mine. I didn’t even close my eyes. I was completely unsure of what was actually going on. Wait, is that his tongue? It was wet and not good and I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. And when he was finished doing whatever it was that he started, I don’t even remember if we watched the video clip at all. I was reveling in the moment that I had been kissed for the first time. And before I knew it, we were back in the other room, our friends smiling the biggest, most naive grins at us wanting to know all the details, which were not at all impressive. He walked me out, and we talked a little, and told me we should get together sometime, even though neither one of us really wanted to see each other ever again.

I swear, Taylor Swift must write about my life

I never thought I’d have a boyfriend. And I really never thought I’d be married. And then all of s sudden, here it is — knocking the wind out of me as I hear “the organ starts to play a song that sounds like a death march.” The doors swing open, “Speak Now” plays in my head, and I start to choke.
Although I grew up as a Disney kid, I never wanted to be a princess. Sure they had great hair and always got the guy, but all it really did was give me unrealistic expectations about hair and men.
I didn’t need their fantastic love stories — I was raised along side better ones.
i grew up knowing love stories that lasted through distances, hardships, and losses with no glass slippers involved. The best love stories are not the ones you read about, but the ones that happen right in front of you.
Before I met Billy, my grandmother would always ask me, “Che bella, how is your love life?” And I would always reply the same way, “Not as good as yours, Gram.” The reality was, nothing I had going on could ever compare to the love of her life. They wrote each other notes from Italy to the states 50 years ago and saved every one. They worked together, raising a family and building a home, never forgetting who they were and how they got there. Love that stands the test of time. Who wouldn’t want that kind of story?
Then there is Aunt Susie and Uncle Tommy. Neighborhood friends from Brooklyn who have more hilarious memories than any couple I know. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. They also have the worst kind of memories — losing a child and the struggle that ensues. No one will ever know what it’s like to have such a story and yet come out the other side hand in hand. You can’t do that without their kind of love. A love that started with a friendship and kept going for life. Their kind of love is my dream.
And their love stories have all ended up pretty perfect, but none quite as perfect as the kid from Brooklyn and the girl next door. It was love at first sight and he made up any excuse to walk her to school. Two years older (and two feet taller) than he was, she walked in that 80’s-movie, slow-motion, etheral-angel-lighting sort of way. At least, that’s how he saw her. He had to have that girl.
If you haven’t already guessed, this is the story of my parents. After years of chasing — i mean dating — they got married, had a couple kids, and got a house with a big back yard and a swing set. Sure, it’s the American dream. It’s what they were made to do, but watching their love never gets old to me. It only made me want it more. And I don’t mean just “love.” I mean infatuated, obsessed, borderline crazy kind of love that makes you laugh, cry, and everything in between. Is that too much to ask?? The love that’s there for you on your best day and stands by you on your worst day. The love that knows who you really are and still loves you anyway. I never thought I’d get that kind of love, but after all my wishing and praying for what my parents had, I’ve found it.
When I look at Billy I see silly love notes, struggles, and a happy family all waiting to be written into our fairy tale. It may not be as good as the ones I was raised with, and it’s no where close to a Disney story, but it’s on its way. And I think our love story is going to be my favorite one of them all.

I swear, Taylor Swift must write about my life

I never thought I’d have a boyfriend. And I really never thought I’d be married. And then all of s sudden, here it is — knocking the wind out of me as I hear “the organ starts to play a song that sounds like a death march.” The doors swing open, “Speak Now” plays in my head, and I start to choke.
Although I grew up as a Disney kid, I never wanted to be a princess. Sure they had great hair and always got the guy, but all it really did was give me unrealistic expectations about hair and men.
I didn’t need their fantastic love stories — I was raised along side better ones.
i grew up knowing love stories that lasted through distances, hardships, and losses with no glass slippers involved. The best love stories are not the ones you read about, but the ones that happen right in front of you.
Before I met Billy, my grandmother would always ask me, “Che bella, how is your love life?” And I would always reply the same way, “Not as good as yours, Gram.” The reality was, nothing I had going on could ever compare to the love of her life. They wrote each other notes from Italy to the states 50 years ago and saved every one. They worked together, raising a family and building a home, never forgetting who they were and how they got there. Love that stands the test of time. Who wouldn’t want that kind of story?
Then there is Aunt Susie and Uncle Tommy. Neighborhood friends from Brooklyn who have more hilarious memories than any couple I know. But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. They also have the worst kind of memories — losing a child and the struggle that ensues. No one will ever know what it’s like to have such a story and yet come out the other side hand in hand. You can’t do that without their kind of love. A love that started with a friendship and kept going for life. Their kind of love is my dream.
And their love stories have all ended up pretty perfect, but none quite as perfect as the kid from Brooklyn and the girl next door. It was love at first sight and he made up any excuse to walk her to school. Two years older (and two feet taller) than he was, she walked in that 80’s-movie, slow-motion, etheral-angel-lighting sort of way. At least, that’s how he saw her. He had to have that girl.
If you haven’t already guessed, this is the story of my parents. After years of chasing — i mean dating — they got married, had a couple kids, and got a house with a big back yard and a swing set. Sure, it’s the American dream. It’s what they were made to do, but watching their love never gets old to me. It only made me want it more. And I don’t mean just “love.” I mean infatuated, obsessed, borderline crazy kind of love that makes you laugh, cry, and everything in between. Is that too much to ask?? The love that’s there for you on your best day and stands by you on your worst day. The love that knows who you really are and still loves you anyway. I never thought I’d get that kind of love, but after all my wishing and praying for what my parents had, I’ve found it.
When I look at Billy I see silly love notes, struggles, and a happy family all waiting to be written into our fairy tale. It may not be as good as the ones I was raised with, and it’s no where close to a Disney story, but it’s on its way. And I think our love story is going to be my favorite one of them all.

Like a bull in a china shop

 

Communication is so key - in every kind of relationship. It took a teenage “relationship” for me to realize that. But like much of my life, I learned a lot of things in serious retrospect and it’s taken 10 years to realize that a friendship which was on the verge of greatness went horribly sour because of bad communication between us.

There was a boy who just “got” me. Not like Damien did; he got me in a real way. Because he was just like me. He was very cool and pretty popular. He had a cool family that kind of reminded me of my own, and that was nice. Except he was the oldest with only younger sisters, and I was the oldest with only younger brothers. We hung out accidentally: between friends and their girlfriends and football practice and the late bus home, we just ended up getting to know each other better. His sisters loved when I came over, and yeah, I guess I did start to get a crush on him, when I realized that if we were to get married both of our initials would be EJA. But it was harmless, really. I was pretty obsessed with someone else at the time. But it was funny, I didn’t really like him but I liked talking and hanging out with him. And he didn’t really like me but he liked when OI sat at his lunch table because we finished each others sentances and I always understood when he tried to explain something and none of his friends had the slightest clue as to what he was talking about. We didn’t really like anything about each other except that we were the same; both loud, obnoxious assholes with serious anger issues. In other words, really Italian. 

We had realized our similarities well before the 11th grade, and even when he had girlfriends we got along OK. We played videogames and talked about nonsense. We studied for regents exams and his mom always made me eat dinner over. His sisters had told me once that they wished I was their sister, too. 

One afternoon when we were doing nothing and everyone else was out of the way, he asked me if I “liked him” liked him, and I very quickly assured him, “no.” This was 90% true. The first 5% after that was just me wanting ANYONE to be my boyfriend. The last 5% maybe did wish it would be him. But a 90% no is still a, “I would like you better as a friend if that’s what you’re asking,” and I guess that’s what it was. He replied with, “good.” GOOD? He might as well have just stabbed me in the heart. But why am I so upset? I didn’t really like him all that much anyway. Communication fail #1 - I never told him how I really felt. I let him tell me about this supposed great girl he met at a party. He told me all his secrets. He asked me tons of questions and always loved to get my opinion or advice. He told me he really, really liked her. And I was okay with it. After all, we were never anything more than friends and he had only asked me to make sure he wasn’t going to hurt my feelings. I entertained him for a while but after a little bit, the whole supportive-friend thing got old. I regret not telling him that I thought she wasn’t his type. I regret not telling him he should find someone more like me (and this was years before my Im-so-awesome complex). Because of my catty behavior whenever she came around, he started to pull away. She didn’t like me, and he picked her instead. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles, right? This was one of the first times I ever really cared about loyalty.

Something happened where there was a real lapse in our lack of communicating. He started to tell all his friends that I was obsessed with his life and jealous, which was 100% untrue. I had actually been chasing after someone else, who, when they heard this from him, took a significant step away from me. Cue: devastation. The reality that he and his friends never understood was that I was indeed happy for my friend, and really was angry at myself. Fail #2 - I didn’t stand up for myself. I didn’t correct his false statements about me that I had to hear through the grapevine because he knew me better than to tell me to my face. I didn’t tell him, “hey, jerkoff! Ever think I just miss hanging out? Ever think your new girlfriend is putting ideas in your head about me?” But instead I let him ruin me. And I was mad at myself for that. He ended up having more of an influence on the group than I did, and no amount of trying could convince them that he had it all wrong. Some of them who never figured me out (which now that I think of it, is actually ALL of them) still see me as “that girl” and it’s one of those things too late to fix. 

I should hate him for that, but weirdly, I dont. We had a semi-reconciliation in our college years which could have possibly retained a friendship. I was a nice idea, but yet again, I didn’t have it in me to just set the record straight once and for all and instead I let him go. Failing at communicating #3 - on three separate occasions I failed to take the bull by the horns and lead it in my direction. I never liked him “like that” and wished he could have seen it, eventually. I wish they all could have. I did (and do, kind of) miss having him around, even though their little group is basically non-existent these days. But I know that we could have grown into a great friendship like I’ve done with a few select people. We could have been best friends, even. …Calm down. It’s only a possibility. And I say that because I see him now, and I see that we’re both still the same. Still assholes, just apart. And sometimes, I do need an asshole friend to hold it all together when I cant do it by myself. To look at me crying on the floor and instead of picking me up say, “get up, you look ridiculous.” To rein me in when I’m getting nutty. To have my back when I feel like burning the whole place down, and if not, at least someone to hold the matches. You don’t realize it now, but there aren’t many of your friends who would actually do that. Everyone’s way too nice. We, however, could have been great.

So I made it a point to be the ultimate at communicating in a relationship. This is no running away when it comes to me. Tell me how you really feel, don’t lead me on or tiptoe around. There’s no point in saving face, it just makes it more miserable for you. I will lay it all out there - to a fault, sometimes, - but then there’s no questions. I wear is all on my sleeve. Here, take my shirt. Oh, are you mad at me? Well that’s too bad. Go in another room if you have to, deal with it, and come back in so we can talk this out. You’re not running away and we can and will resolve this. There is no breaking up. There is no divorce. There is only conversation, and growth, and serious decisions based on real information. 

This is what you should do when you get into any kinds of relationship: Be your freakin self. If you want to ask questions, just ask them. It’s only going to eat you up if you dont. If it’s killing you to go a whole day without talking to them, just tell them that. These are not bad things to share. You’re not killing anyone. And there are ways to do it within reason. See the ring on my left hand? He didn’t put it there by accident. He put it there because he knows how I am and wants to keep it that way. He knows that if it ever does end, we’ll never end horribly. And he knows that we wont end up like a ruined friendship on the verge of greatness because I’m not too scared or insecure about myself anymore, even if I am still an ass.

Yes, I habla english, you skinny bitch.

When I first started working in my little sewing store job, I was possibly the worst employee ever. In fact, I’m sorta embarrassed by that, because I thought I was great at that job. When really, I was talented at the sewing part and not so talented at the selling of products. I gave a lot of stuff away for free to the little old ladies who came in looking for thread and needles and yarn. When I got a real job a few years later, I was grossly unprepared to deal with the public or pay taxes on my earned income. I was also pretty resistant to the idea of a dress code. These things bothered me in that my boobs were large and in charge and they didn’t want to be covered up, no matter how many buttons I buttoned on my polo shirt. And I love getting taxed more on overtime, it makes me really want to work longer hours, said no one ever. But the true culture shock was dealing with people who are supposed to be civilized — working professionals who shop late in the day (read: cranky and in a rush, but I totally understand) and stay at home moms who talk to five year olds all day and therefore treat everyone as if they are a child because they have lost ALL adult social skills.

Dealing with my customers always happens one of two ways: They start off nice and end up crazy, or they’re just nuts and end up rude. Rarely they end up nasty and that’s usually because they’re idiots who think I don’t speak english because I’m wearing a hairnet and holding a mop. There’s always the air of surprise when they pantomime their request to me. “Ex-cusseeee meeee, hello??” they always ask in a slow voice. I’m working, not retarded. You can speak to me normally. I look up at them with raised eyebrows, and put down the pastry bag. This is me giving you the time of day. ”Can youuu (points at me) wriiiiteee (makes hand motion of scribbling) on this cake (holds up cake like a trophy)?” Are you eff-ing serious? I know my olive complexion makes me look not as white as you, and thank you by the way, for acknowledging my great tan, but really? I speak english. I just want to be like, “No… no… no habla. Sorry, sorry…” and get back to work. But I don’t, because contrary to popular belief I have amazing customer service. I stop, half-smirk, and say, “Yeah, whattaya need it ta say?” and their jaw drops. Freakin’ morons.

You would think that customers asking me when my baby was due would have been enough motivation to send my ass to the gym, but it wasn’t. And I laugh now, because I’m instantly brought back to a moment where I began to play along with the conversation. Customers would congratulate me and I would be all, Thank you, thank you, and completely make up a story about being so excited and a fake due date, or a different story about not being ready but we’ll get through it. And people would always offer their advice and end up all happy for me. And I would go home and eat my emotions because not only was I not at all pregnant but I didn’t even have a boyfriend!  What do you really want me to say? No, sorry, I’m just fat? That’s just awkward for everyone and would have meant that I was comfortable with my fatness and I wasn’t. I actually got more bent out of shape when people would ask me for shopping advice. Why are you asking me what the best cake is? Are you insinuating that I have, in fact, eaten every cake we offer in this bakery? It’s because I’m big, isn’t it? And what if we don’t have the same taste? Because I haven’t actually tried most of them. I’m picky with my sweets and I really only like chocolate cake. After making 300 graduation cakes and touching 7,200 chocolate chip cookies, do you think I want to stuff my face with them? Oh, you’re just trying to be nice and make conversation? Well I’m insulin resistant and can’t eat this crap, and now you feel bad for asking.

Sometimes you have to look back in order to move forward.
So, I found a bunch of essays from when I was in high school (like 8 years ago! #old). I wasn’t surprised that the lowest grade on them was a 95%. I don’t think I missed my true calling, because I’m definitely good at my drawing and painting and art and crap, but as I re-read my own essays, I’m borderline impressed that my 17-year-old self could be so genuinely insightful about life! 

I’ve been having a harder time than I originally anticipated when figuring out how and what to write in regards to my 18-21 year old self. So I looked over my old essays and instead of writing a brand new post about my youth and how it has influenced who I am today, I’m just going to let you read one of my best essays ever about my grandma, from when she was still alive (Special thanks to Mrs. Wagner for forcing me to be more amazing than I already was).


She sits in her chair. Her worn, wrinkled hands grasping her cane. It’s Sunday, and there is a meal and a family that needs tending to. “Forza,” she says to herself. Forza, meaning strength in Italian, is the phrase she lives by. She gains enough strength to life herself off her seat to stir the old pot. The steam from the stove fogs her glasses just enough to hide her eyes, which have seen so much. If they could talk one could only imagine the stories they would tell. But they don’t need to speak. The wisdom that my grandmother has gained from what she’s seen has already been passed down to us all.
When a hurricane tore apart my childhood playhouse I couldn’t have been more upset. But my grandmother told me to stop crying and to listen to her story. When she was young she lost a house too. But it was from much more than a rainstorm. There was a war going on in Italy, and news had spread that her town had been bombed. Her house was ruined. But she wasn’t. Although they lost it all, she and her mother moved on. They moved on to a new life in a new house. My grandmother told me that although I didn’t have a playhouse anymore, it was okay. I would just have to move on. And I did. From that experience I learned that even if things turn out badly, you have to pull through to be successful. 
There will always be kids in school who pick on other kids for fun. But I never felt as if I was bullied. I never let things like that get to me. Every time I started to feel bullied I would remember another one of my grandmother’s stories. In 1954 she and my grandfather moved to Brooklyn from Naples. They didn’t speak English well, had no where to live and they had no jobs. Although they lived in an Italian neighborhood, they were constantly stereotyped. They were harassed because they couldn’t speak the language spoken here and people generalized their thoughts about Italian-Americans. My grandmother refused to be hassled. She found a job at a church and learned from the nuns who lived there. She was determined to prove wrong who had made fun of her. And she most definitely did. I remember that story whenever someone tells me that I can’t do something. I tell myself that I can — and I do it. At first, challenging myself to prove others wrong was hard. But I got rid of my self-doubt and I pulled through. My success because of this way of thinking have made me a well respected person in society.
Without my grandmother’s influence, it would have been a much bumpier road to get to where I am today. Overcoming tough times and believing in yourself truly helps you live your life with ease. I am grateful to have had my grandmother’s influence all of these years.
Although she is old and tired, her heart is still strong. She still supports her family as much as she can, even if it is just providing the tradional Sunday meal. Every now and then, if you listen hard enough, you can hear the thud of her cane on the linoleum floor as she goes to the stove to stir the same old pot. You can hear her sigh as she returns to her chair. And if you listen much harder, you can hear the stories she’s told about her life, and you will know that they will change yours.

Sometimes you have to look back in order to move forward.

So, I found a bunch of essays from when I was in high school (like 8 years ago! #old). I wasn’t surprised that the lowest grade on them was a 95%. I don’t think I missed my true calling, because I’m definitely good at my drawing and painting and art and crap, but as I re-read my own essays, I’m borderline impressed that my 17-year-old self could be so genuinely insightful about life! 

I’ve been having a harder time than I originally anticipated when figuring out how and what to write in regards to my 18-21 year old self. So I looked over my old essays and instead of writing a brand new post about my youth and how it has influenced who I am today, I’m just going to let you read one of my best essays ever about my grandma, from when she was still alive (Special thanks to Mrs. Wagner for forcing me to be more amazing than I already was).

She sits in her chair. Her worn, wrinkled hands grasping her cane. It’s Sunday, and there is a meal and a family that needs tending to. “Forza,” she says to herself. Forza, meaning strength in Italian, is the phrase she lives by. She gains enough strength to life herself off her seat to stir the old pot. The steam from the stove fogs her glasses just enough to hide her eyes, which have seen so much. If they could talk one could only imagine the stories they would tell. But they don’t need to speak. The wisdom that my grandmother has gained from what she’s seen has already been passed down to us all.

When a hurricane tore apart my childhood playhouse I couldn’t have been more upset. But my grandmother told me to stop crying and to listen to her story. When she was young she lost a house too. But it was from much more than a rainstorm. There was a war going on in Italy, and news had spread that her town had been bombed. Her house was ruined. But she wasn’t. Although they lost it all, she and her mother moved on. They moved on to a new life in a new house. My grandmother told me that although I didn’t have a playhouse anymore, it was okay. I would just have to move on. And I did. From that experience I learned that even if things turn out badly, you have to pull through to be successful. 

There will always be kids in school who pick on other kids for fun. But I never felt as if I was bullied. I never let things like that get to me. Every time I started to feel bullied I would remember another one of my grandmother’s stories. In 1954 she and my grandfather moved to Brooklyn from Naples. They didn’t speak English well, had no where to live and they had no jobs. Although they lived in an Italian neighborhood, they were constantly stereotyped. They were harassed because they couldn’t speak the language spoken here and people generalized their thoughts about Italian-Americans. My grandmother refused to be hassled. She found a job at a church and learned from the nuns who lived there. She was determined to prove wrong who had made fun of her. And she most definitely did. I remember that story whenever someone tells me that I can’t do something. I tell myself that I can — and I do it. At first, challenging myself to prove others wrong was hard. But I got rid of my self-doubt and I pulled through. My success because of this way of thinking have made me a well respected person in society.

Without my grandmother’s influence, it would have been a much bumpier road to get to where I am today. Overcoming tough times and believing in yourself truly helps you live your life with ease. I am grateful to have had my grandmother’s influence all of these years.

Although she is old and tired, her heart is still strong. She still supports her family as much as she can, even if it is just providing the tradional Sunday meal. Every now and then, if you listen hard enough, you can hear the thud of her cane on the linoleum floor as she goes to the stove to stir the same old pot. You can hear her sigh as she returns to her chair. And if you listen much harder, you can hear the stories she’s told about her life, and you will know that they will change yours.

Life is a fashion show

For those of you who dont know what easter is, let me tell you. Easter is the day in the Catholic religion where you put on your best spring outfit (regardless of the temperature outside) and try to get to church an hour early just so that you can end up standing in the back the whole time. What really happens is that your dad doesn’t take a shower until 10:35 and mass starts at 11. Not only are you now late for church, but your stockings are bunching up around your ankles and the lace on this dress really itches under the arms. 

I can remember many easters where the easter bunny didn’t come until after breakfast. It was fine, we still got our chocolate eggs. We also learned very quickly that the easter bunny was not the only one running late. As my mom ushered my brothers and I around to take showers and get ready for church in the outfits she spent weeks shopping for, my dad was never, ever ready on time. So let me tell you what easter is REALLY about: showing off to all your other CEO parishioners (christmas and easter only) and judging everyone’s outfit as they walk in. The later you are to mass, the harder you get judged. …Oh, you thought this had to do with Jesus? 

Easter has more or less given me a fat little girl complex in that I used to think i looked a-maze-ing in all my outfits. And i have to say, i did look pretty damn cute. But now, Easter has provided me with ample excuses to go shopping. Every March, I start the hunt for the perfect outfit. It’s something my mom started a long time ago. In fact, I have a solid memory of looking up at the top shelf in my closet and seeing 3 or 4 white wide-brimmed hats with pink and yellow ribbon to match my easter dresses, worn with stockings, socks with lace cuffs, and patent leather white mary janes (until i outgrew those and went through a Keds phase instead).

Now I just try to find THE perfect dress. It’s not an easy task. I spent more time picking out an outfit this year for Easter then I did picking out a wedding dress. No lie. And in the end of my Easter dress marathon shopping day, I ended up with a completely different look that I never in a million years would have thought to put on: pants. Pants on Easter?! I know, I was shocked myself. Life really is a fashion show, and Easter sunday mass is the Bryant park event. So me, my white pants, peplum lace top and denim jacket that I will wear until it comes apart at the seams (and even then I will sew it back together) are going to mass, early. And not get a seat, and stand in the back for an hour. And look fan-freakin-tastic.

Relationship advice to my friends

All of the things I wish you bitches had told me when I was 19. 

Instead, I had the parents who’s love story is one you can only see in movies and my wonderful mother who is as real with people as the sky is blue. This is a trait that you should wish to have. Every time I came home crying over [every]things, she had another piece of advice to give me. I didn’t realize until way afterwards that she wasn’t really speaking from experience, but really just from what she wanted for me.

  1. Do things because they make you feel good.

Moral of the story is: the better you feel, the better your relationship will be.

Do things because you want to do them. Don’t do them because you think they will make your relationship better. Don’t do things that you think he wants you to do. Don’t do things that don’t make you feel good about yourself. If you have to question it, you probably shouldn’t do it. If you want to try new things because it could be a great experience for you, that’s fine. You may be nervous about it, but ultimately you’ll have the support from the one who you want to be supporting you and you’ll come out fine in the end. It doesn’t mean that this will become a regular thing — just giving in and doing what they want. Again, if you feel alone in this task, this is not something you should be doing. Things that leave you miserable will only make you resent your situation and that defeats the purpose of doing said task in the first place, right?

 

     2.   Don’t be desperate

You are ten times hotter than you feel. So if you feel like a 1, you’re already a 10. and when you feel great, you’re freakin’ awesome. But no matter how much I tell you that, I know you’ll never believe it. First, don’t settle on someone who makes you feel like a 6 because, as previously stated, you’re already a 10. So they’re just bringing you down. Secondly, you’re esteem should not lie in the hands of someone else. Your significant other should not complete you, rather, they should just enhance your already wonderful being. You are complete on your own. And if you feel like you’re not, then you really have no business dating anyone until you sit down with yourself (and me) and a bottle of wine and hash out all this garbage you’re going through.

 

     3.  Don’t give yourself a timeline

This is by far the biggest mistake I have ever seen people make. Why, by 27 years old, do you think you will be married, with two children and a house, oh 16-year-old-self? That’s like, cramming a whole buncha shit into eleven years of life. No way that high school, college, careers, relationships, homes, and children could be regulated into that amount of time. After the third time I was dumped by a guy (who I wasn’t technically dating) I told myself to accept the ever-apparent truth that I would be forever alone. And I dropped the timeline somewhere. And guess what? I ended up doing (almost) everything I said I was going to do, almost right on time. You can keep the stupid chain of events if you want, but don’t drown yourself in sorrow if you’re not married in a year and a half with a baby on the way. It’s okay. You kids will not care whether you’re 29 when you had them or 31. You’re still going to be their annoying parents regardless of your age. And you’ll probably still be broke and homeless so what’s the big deal?

 

     4.  Compromise to a point but make sure they compromise back

Know how much your worth. Do yourself a favor and make sure that you’re given just as much as you give them. Some people are chronic pleasers and that’s cool, but I don’t believe them for one second when they say they are completely happy. Everyone loves to be given things. Sometimes you have to be a little bitchy to get what you want. Ultimately, if you’re a giver, then you deserve it. If you feel that you’re not at equal standing with him, say something. If he gives you crap about it, then you pick yourself up and walk away; he can keep the damn Keurig he begged you to buy him. You never got the french vanilla cups he promised to get you anyway.

     5.  Don’t be afraid to date around

You’re not being trashy if you want to test the waters with a few people. In fact, I suggest that you definitely test the waters before you dive right into a serious relationship. Believe me when I tell you that you are NOT wasting your time. By taking the time to figure out who/what/how you want it, you’re actually saving yourself time with the wrong one. And hey, if you ended up diving in with someone and it doesn’t work out as planned, hopefully you learned something from it. I have always taken away a lesson learned from each and every one of them, so I know you will too. There’s nothing wrong with being socially active with a couple people who you may or may not be into. Just be careful! Please! Supposedly, that’s how it’s really ought to be, we have just misconstrued like, lust, and love into the same thing and now we can’t tell the difference anymore. All I’m saying is, don’t settle. You’ll be faking happiness with someone who you regret and what have you always told me — Misery looks good on no one.

When in doubt, La Bouche

There is a certain affinity I have for 90s pop music. I recently realized why this is: I had very poignant, good experiences where the soundtrack to my life had literally been playing Be My Lover or Sweet Dreams. The biggest esteem booster I had to this background music happened when I was a baton twirler. It’s fine; you can laugh now. But I was, indeed, donned head to toe in a shiny, metallic spandex jumpsuit. One (or more) of my costumes even had a sequined headband to match.

Here I am, a little rollie pollie of a child, decked out in shiny things and a too-tight onesie, in utter and complete glory dancing around the gymnasium to La Bouche. Which is quite ironic considering I got out of dancing in any other activity by faking a stomach ache. There are only a few people who would be proud to be dancing aroiund and wear that much glitter and lycra: drag queens, Lady Gaga, and me at 10 years old — front and center of the group, THE star of the show.

 

Something about being the main attraction didn’t feed into my self esteem issues. It was this weird place where I okay with myself because I knew I was that good, that my outfit was not even at the top of my priorities. I believe this is what we call confidence? I’m not 100% on that one; it may be just me developing an ego/complex. What I am sure of is that I was beginning to have a really deep obsession with 90’s dance music. I know now that it’s because it has good memories and feelings attached to it. Whenever I get in a crazy funk, I have to put on my 90s jams. 

Most people would look at my situation and either shrug it off, or tell me to get over it (because it’s probably something so petty), but I just can’t do it. It’s like the biggest wave of anxiety crashes into me and the only remedy for it is club beats and a few lines of “la dada di dada da daaa..” That particular time in my life also really did give me an “I’m the best” complex that I sometimes need to remind myself of when I’m having a bad day. So that’s when looking like a crazy lady humming old-school jams is acceptable to me.

Aside from Brittney Spears, Shannon and I have had very little similarities in music choices. I’m okay with that, because she will totally provide me with a healthy dose of, “Get the EFF over it already” when it’s really necessary. And when I realized that D and I could dance around to the same euro-pop and that would make me feel better I said to myself, This is great! because not only do I feel great but I’m not alone in either my sarcastic rants or odd music choices.

You might have him but I *always* get the last word

I hate to say it, but there was a great self-esteem killer that came around the time my friends started dating. Damien had a girlfriend, who I wont say by name but I will refer to her as Spawn, as in Spawn of the Devil. They got together at a very awkward point in my life. I had not yet decided who I wanted to become, I had no idea who I was, and I still didn’t have any balls to stick up for myself. I definitely still had zero self esteem. All I knew was that if I couldn’t have him to myself then no one could have him at all. And yes, I know that this is a very immature way to think. But I did think this way, partly because I was THAT immature. I could not wrap my head around what he saw in her. The girl I knew back in third grade was cute and nice and invited me over to her house for play-dates. But she had moved away (like all my friends seemed to do) to a couple towns over and I never saw her again.

And then one day, here she was, Spawn, in all her devilish glory, stealing the boy who was very obviously mine and rubbing it in my face, like she didn’t even know me. And she had the balls to be jealous about our friendship. And she had the balls to say what was on her mind. AND she had the balls to not care if I ever found out about it. Of course he was going to tell me; whether he admitted it or not, we were already attached-at-the-hip best friends for years. Who do you tell when your girlfriend is being a whiney bitch? You tell your best friend, that’s who! So I heard it all. When she bragged about her designer handbag and that pissed him off, I heard it. When his mother couldn’t stand her, I heard it. When she was being a nasty grotsky bitch, believe me, I heard it. And I knew she was talking about me, even though he would never be mean enough to actually tell me that.

A small part of me loved it. Good, I thought, be jealous of me for once. Be angry, be sad, be anything. I’ll still be here when you’re gone… (I hope). And I got that “muah hahaaaa” evil laugh going on in my head every time he told me how I shouldn’t worry about what Spawn thought because he wouldn’t let her come between our friendship. Every time he said it, it was like music to my ears. Although, one day something made me feel really bad. Their relationship had lasted a decent amount of months and I did more than wonder why this was. Could he actually like this girl? Or worse, love her? Why would he bitch to me about all the bad things he thought about her and still be with her? I actually sat down with my thoughts and said, Well, all my worst fears have thus been confirmed: I’m simply not good enough, and that’s that. Because I thought if he could find something to love in this Spawn, who in most opinions was not gorgeous, didn’t have an amazing body, and definitely could have benefitted from an attitude adjustment, then I must be so repulsive that he cant even dig down deep enough past it and find something to love in me instead.

Damien and Spawn broke up not long after. Angels sung and the world became a little bit brighter. I never even asked him how or why or when or who broke up with who. I really could not have cared any less about that. He was still mine! And we lived happily ever after. …Oh, wait. no, still not quite yet.

I was infatuated with him and he knew. It was a mortifying experience. I wanted to like him behind the scenes until I knew whether or not he would be willing to like me more but I couldn’t get that to happen. One day I told him that there was definitely a reason we met each other. His response to me was the reason is so we could be great friends. And we coined a personal phrase called “bookface” — imagine what you would look like if someone took a book and smacked you across the face with it without warning. A true face of surprise, completely caught off guard, and a mix between being pissed and sad at the same time. I bookfaced it hard when he wanted to be “just friends” and I teetered across the line of sane and psycho-bitch about it. It took me many viewings of My Best Friend’s Wedding over a lot of months with him to understand that you can love someone for who they are and still be friends. Whether or not you remain a psycho-bitch about it is completely up to you but let me take this time to give you a piece of advice from experience: Life is a lot easier when you’re not crazy.

Et tu, Brute?

It was dark. I was alone. I was pacing up and down the block, and I was pissed. So pissed that I was legitimately crying. It was a sad and confused cry. But mostly angry. And then evil, because I knew that they would, at some point, need to drive down the street I was walking on, and I could get them then. By this time in the night, Rome had fallen. Caesar was already dead. 

 

But let me go back.

Although I hate admitting it, my close knit family does have a couple kinks. One of them being the relationship between a cousin and I. We’re the same age, and even though we sometimes had moments of friendship, I can’t say that we have had a great bond. Which is odd, in retrospect, because we had very similar instances growing up. Both little fatties, neither having friends. Very alone even though we had fifteen people in the house at any given time. We played the same instrument in the school orchestra. In fact, both our best friends are named Shannon. Yet another situation where nature won over nurture. We ended up having opposite personalities despite our nearly identical upbringing by the same old lady.

The sad part is, I was actually surprised when Shannon had taken a liking to my cousin’s company. This seriously blew my mind. She was my complete opposite, and Shan had been my friend for long enough to know that I had some serious unresolved issues with my family; why would she hang out with the one person who, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not bring myself to be cool with? And this is my own flesh and blood we’re talking about here! 

I’m about 19, and very lonely. But at this point, I did start to branch out some. My friends and I would go to the bar and talk up some guys and slowly, I’m coming out of my shell. We even included my cousin on some of these occasions. Which is where this odd and deranged friendship of Shannon’s stemmed from. 

Already an internet junkie, I came home to check on my buddy list - you know, just to see what I was missing out on. But before I even had the chance to hunt down everyone else’s evening plans, a message pops up, from my cousin, calling me every name in the book. ?!?! Wait, what?!, I’m staring at the computer screen, in shock. But I keep reading. She is calling me out on any and every single thing I have ever said about her — regardless of good or bad. I mean, this is literally a lifetime of issues. But I have to admit, it was mostly bad things that I had been saying. And then I thought, How would she know? Who had I been telling this too? Remember when I said it’s a scary thing for your best friend to know everything about you? Shannon’s budding friendship had just turned into a nightmare for me. Cue = Freak out.

I went bananas. There really is no other way to describe what I did or what I said or how I reacted initially. I drove to my cousin’s house looking for her. I yelled, screamed, and made a fool out of myself. I wanted her in pieces. This may or may not be an exaggeration. 

To me, the two of them just committed the ultimate in disrespect and more importantly, disloyalty, which is the basis of my entire lifestyle. 

She wasn’t home. Neither of them were. Of course, they were out together. I broke down; I have just had the biggest can of worms unleashed. Family issues are never a good thing. First, I thought it was completely wrong of my supposed best friend to say anything to anyone about me, let alone my cousin. Second, I knew my cousin was eating up the fact that she now had my best friend under her wing. Where do I go now? This is just another one of those moments where people show their true colors. I sat in my car and called the only other person who I had around. As always, Damien  answered. 

And now I’m at his house, half throwing a fit, half plotting the demise of my evil villains. Even my parents didn’t know what to do with me. They were less than thrilled at the fact that my cousin and I were in world war III over my best friend, but they pretty much told me I was on my own with this one. I called Shannon. Nothing worked; nothing either of said was productive. There was no coming back from this, I was convinced. This was beginning to feel like the biggest break-up of my life. It was dark, and I had left D’s house out of respect. I wasn’t going to curse her out there, I was going to do it on the street where I could see her coming at me. Girls are vicious when they argue, and this fight was definitely no exception. I told Shannon I couldn’t be her friend if this was who she was going to associate herself with. We gave each other back our things. I gave her back her clothes and her shoes and even the little ceramic gargoyle she made in art class that I loved so much. It was really sad, we didn’t talk for almost a year. I don’t know how, but we never even “accidentally” ran into each other.

I’m pacing up the block. I’m freaking out. I’m dying. I’ll lose anything this time around, but really? REALLY? Another best friend gone?

Get in loser, we’re going shopping

Shannon had a boyfriend in high school and I really never understood what all the fuss was about. It’s really funny when your best friend gets a boyfriend and you’re like,  “?!?!?! Great. Forever alone.” That’s kind of the first thing that makes a girl mad at their best friend — when they have something you want and you cant have it. I suppose it’s jealousy, but admitting to that is not something I’m ready to do. I mean, her boyfriend was really nice, and we knew him forever, but it was like all of a sudden everyone got into a relationship and is all in love and whatever and I’m over here — alone — like my biggest concern in life is staring at my Myspace page trying to figure out whether or not I should make Justin Timberlake my default song. I pretended that I wasn’t concerned with other people’s romances and that they didn’t affect me. But the truth is, I was overwhelmed with other people’s lives just to take my mind off my own. Note to self: ALWAYS make JT your default page song = instant dance-party-for-one. In my head I was still the little fat kid who didn’t want to dance on the carpet with my class. Except now the class had boyfriends and I was still sitting on the edge waiting for snack time.

Obviously when your best friend gets a boyfriend its a normal reaction to freak out like it’s the end of the world and that you’re never going to see them again because now they won’t have time for you anymore. Oh, no? Just me then? It just must be something I do. At 25, I still react that way. 

I kept it to myself and pretty much just took to my AIM away message as a form of therapy. Remember AIM? I sure do. It was what my generation was obsessed with before we got our college emails and could join the primal facebook.com and become obsessed with that instead. Of course we used AIM for all its intended purposes: finding out who was dating who based on who’s initials were in their profile, finding out who’s house someone was at based on their profile’s status, having the best profile icon, and of course, checking every single away message of our entire Buddy list, just to see what you were missing out on. This is probably where I learned that I should be an FBI agent. If you spend enough time researching something one of two things happens: you either give up looking for information or you take the information you’ve found and come to a logical conclusion. My conclusion was that I was always being left out. But more importantly I was able to know everything about everyone at anytime and I always felt better. Kind of a little sneaky, like a spy. Like I knew stuff that they didn’t know I would know. Like a federal agent. I don’t see anything wrong with that. 

Shan and I had entire notebooks filled with quotes — from songs, from stories, from headlines, anywhere. Little pieces of written emotion that we would post in a supposed arbitrary manner but actually had significant meaning to us. Our away messages were like our first therapy sessions. They were, in fact, the original tumblr: put up a link, or a song, or a quote about your day and let people check it out for fun. At this point in my life mine were always filled with snarky sayings and pretending I was “fine.” Which we all know that when a girls says shes “fine,” she is actually not fine.

Shannon had a boyfriend which lasted a while, and I don’t really remember the true reason as to why they broke up, but I can’t say that I was upset at all. Instantly all my AIM away messages sang to a different tune. I felt bad for her that she was upset, but the way I saw it, that’s just the way these things go sometimes. “Life gets in the way. Shit happens” was probably the most popular away that I had up at this time. She would move on, I was sure of it. Sometimes you end up being really jealous of your best friend but they’re still you’re best friend. So of course you’re going to be there for them, right? I literally had only one other person who I could actually rely on so giving up on Shannon wasn’t really an option, but it wasn’t just about that. Your best friend knows everything about you and still likes you anyway. Again I will emphasize that they know everything about you, and if you think about it, that’s kind of scary. Imagine if you weren’t on their good side? 

I think every girl at some point goes through a time with their friends where they’re like, “I can’t stand her, let me see if she wants to go shopping.” And then they pull up to their house quoting Mean Girls and everything is back to normal.

True Life: I’m a post-grad without a job in my field who lives at home with my boyfriend’s parents and is getting married but trying to pay my bills at the same time

If I had a reality TV show that’s what it would be called. I really should have had one years ago. Everytime i tell a story, someone ends up laughing. It’s very rarely me; I end up looking at the person laughing like, is this amusing? because I’m 100% serious right now, but then I realize it probably is amusing to them — they have most likely never heard anything like this before. They always say the same thing, “Yo, you need your own show.” More than just as a form of therapy, I started writing things down because I have a hard time remembering things and moreover, you just cant make up the situations I encounter on a daily basis. On the plus side, my situations are sometimes relatable and usually comical.

There are more than a couple reasons why I would have the best show ever.

1. I’m hilarious

Or at least that’s what I think. I can feel my brother’s eyes rolling at the sight of this. Whatever. I mean, you would think that too if every text you sent to your BFFL got a “LMAO” response. It’s the ultimate instant validation.

I’ve been funny my whole life. As a kid I wasn’t comfortable with myself, and the lack of confidence made me hold in my thoughts. So I was pretty much a mute in school to my peers. But in my head I was a stand up comic at 7 years old. As I got older I realized that other people would say something thinking it was funny, and in actuality it was not funny — what I had going on in my head was in fact, much funnier than what they had spewed. So I started to slowly remove my verbal filter. Now it’s just your average word vomit. Combined with your average “lawn guy-land” accent and the fact that I cant tell a story without using my hands = instant comedic genius. Maybe that’s overdoing it but that’s how I feel.

2. My family is hilarious.

When I was a senior in high school my parents gave me a palm pilot for christmas because I insisted i had too much on my plate and needed to keep track. In this little gem of a hand held personal assistant was a video recorder, which I would use to record our dinners each night. Most people go “Huh?” when I tell them I record dinner, but the reason was because for one, we always ate dinner together, no exceptions. And two, as I panned around each member of the family it was something out of a movie. First at the head of the table, dad; eating his pasta and yelling at Anthony, one of my brothers, to stop shoveling his food in his mouth and “take human bites” — think of Homer yelling at Bart. Then panning right was Joey, eating and singing/dancing to an usher song by himself (food makes us happy like that). Next, Nicky, as far away from me as my parents could place him because the bickering was unbearable. We bickered diagonally anyway… and kicked each other under the table. Then my mother, observing… or not. Just trying to enjoy her dinner amid yelling, singing, and ignorance. Next to me was Anthony, still shoveling his food. And knocking his elbows into mine as we ate with opposite hands. Still shoveling his food anyway. He has selective hearing. There’s 90‘s pop radio on in the background, which became the standard after we got my mom one of those under the cabinet radio/CD players. Pan around again and it’s basically the same. Dad still on a rant. Nicky still being annoying, Mom still ignoring us all. And then Joey’s spot at the table is empty. I turn around and see him doing his best MC hammer. As if on cue, my dad says “No. no, no, you’re doing it wrong. Wait, let me show you.” And he too has left the dinner table, leaving his meatball half eaten and throwing down his utensils. And they start doing the Hammer dance in the middle of dinner, in the middle of the kitchen. Anthony still shoveling his food, Mom still ignoring us all. And me, taking it all in via camcorder. Just your average dinner in the Villani household.

3. I have an adorable GBF

If you don’t know what that is, you’re going to have to google it. I can’t explain it. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Also, I can’t tell you which of my friends it is, because we all know what would have to happen if I told you…

Regardless, anyone who has seen Shahs of Sunset knows that Reza totally makes that show and he and MJ’s friendship is too funny. He would be amazing with or without his mustache but I totally get that it’s his marketing tool. My GBF’s marketing tool would be their devastating good looks and the drama in their love life. Too, too cute for words.

I went from average girl to full blown fruit fly in the course of one brunch. I have to say, it takes some getting used to. But after the initial shock settles, life becomes wonderful again. Usually we’re BFF, but too much of a good thing is never a good thing. I can be texting my BFF for like,12 hours non-stop and then not talk to them for 2 days. No wait; I lied. The longest I went recently was half a day and then I got withdrawal symptoms. So I decided I would just harass them with text messages and obnoxious e-cards. If they end up being annoyed? Oh well. I’m still funny. Sometimes they dont text me back. And that’s ok. Most of the time we have inside jokes and adore each other. When we get together it consists of eating and 467 hours of gossip (as if we hadn’t already been texting about it). It’s a wonderful world of sarcasm, inappropriate bitching about our other friends and day-drinking. We’ll be doing it until we’re old and in rocking chairs on our front porches which really wont be much different than how it is now except we’ll be old and hoping our alcohol doesn’t interact with our meds.

4. I’m kind of a weirdo.

But not like, a freak. Just a little odd. I mean, I went to college for art. Hi, I’m a red flag. I sing Disney movie soundtracks when I’m feeling down. I freak out trying to pump my own gas and anything on the floor next to the bed makes me go nutty until I put it where it actually belongs. Weird people are fun, normal people are boring. Done and done.

5. I have a degree but I mop floors for a living

Most of my day is spent in my hat and hairnet and apron and people assume that I don’t speak english. But I’m also wearing glasses so I must be knowledgable. Which means that 90% of the people I help out feel the need to play a game of charades with their concerns or questions to me and when I respond with a, “Yeah, sure, what can I do for ya?” there’s always the air of surprise. I should be an art teacher but I’m really just a substitute at this point, who moonlights as a cake decorator. Often hit on by gym teachers and old janitors who don’t know who I am. Mostly ignored, holding a mop. …Trials and tribulations of a broke-ass 20-something.

I don’t hate you because you’re fat, you’re fat because I hate you

Ah, Mean Girls. Is there ever an inappropriate time to give a shout out to Glen Coco? You go Glen Coco. Is there any way that movie could either be funnier or more relatable to my actual life? I’ll never look like Regina George and I’m not from Africa, but I can relate to that script on so many levels. Even down to the Burn Book, which doesn’t physically exist in my real life but actually does exist if you look at the text conversations I have with Shannon and Damien. 

I don’t like people all that much. Well that’s not a hundred percent true, I like a select few people a whole lot, and I’m pretty open to meeting new people, I just don’t have a whole lot of patience for stupid. I can deal with old folks who complain, and pushy people who ask for too much, and even screaming babies. I can ignore a screaming baby better than anyone. I have some patience for those kinds of things. But I have a zero tolerance policy for interacting in things that promote stupidity. This comes from a particular moment in time where I learned that most everything can be taken away from you like *that,* and it might in fact, be your own fault. Would you really want to be engaged in a stupid act or with a stupid person when everything goes to hell? I used to use that theory as another front for being alone. If crap was gonna fall apart, at least it would be on my own terms. 

I genuinely like my time alone. I have a crazy imagination that can run wild. I can talk to myself and not worry about someone hearing it or walking in on me. And I tend to be extremely more productive when I’m by myself — there’s no one to get in my way. I also don’t have to listen to anyone else’s stupidity when I’m by myself, and that’s just a plus overall. If you told me at sixteen that I would be writing now about how I enjoy to be alone I would have laughed in your face. That sixteen year old girl spent every waking moment alone. Even in a room full of people she was alone, and wanted nothing more than to just be noticed by someone and not be alone. As I started to lose more and more things and people in my life I realized that I do enjoy to be alone, it’s being lonely that I can’t stand. I don’t think I’m the only one; even the word “lonely” just sounds so sad. You can’t say it without frowning.

 

Turns out, being lonely for the better part of my youth has given me a serious fear of commitment. It was about middle of high school-ish where I turned into a living oxymoron: I wanted friends but I was afraid of the relationship ending so I unintentionally either pushed people away, kept to myself, or ruined a good thing before it had a chance to be a good thing. All for fear of losing something more.  My solution to this situation was to be perpetually alone and pretend to like it. This way you can’t get your hopes up and you wont be let down. You cant miss someone you don’t know. You can’t lose something you’ve never had. Have I mentioned I’m now engaged to be married? I’ll get to that later. But this theory in life has proven to be problematic at certain times, especially with upcoming nuptials.

For example, I have felt like I’ve pushed some people away to the point where they just give up on trying to be my friend. I’ll see a missed call and not call them back, or just intentionally ignore a text because I’m busy doing whatever it is I do when I’m alone (rock out to 90s pandora radio). After a while, people tend to stop calling. The opposite of that is me going to the other extreme and being all up in their space, which I have done an excellent job at controlling as I’ve gotten older but not so much when I was like 18. You need to just give people their space when they ask for it. It might suck for you now but turn out better for in the end. Just do it. I can also take that to an extreme and just really keep to myself when asked to. But then I found that I was missing out on a lot of fun stuff. So problem #1, being married makes me really REALLY excited about never being lonely again, and not so excited about never being alone. Problem #2, fitting into that tight white dress in 6 months. Yikes! ::puts down pudding::