…that I read somewhere, recently. (If you know where, let me know so I can properly cite it!)
It goes like this. Right now, take everything that you’re doing in your life and either:
- Stop doing it, or
- Choose to love it.
…that I read somewhere, recently. (If you know where, let me know so I can properly cite it!)
It goes like this. Right now, take everything that you’re doing in your life and either:
It is not, absolutely not, a good idea to join Google+ or any other social media platform with the express purpose of stalking and potentially reuniting with an ex. Under no circumstances will this ever be a remotely good idea, and yet I bet you’ve done it or will someday do it—and when you do it, you won’t even wonder if it’s a bad plan until you’ve already clicked “join”. It is only after it’s been done and you’re poring over unintelligible posts about Mad Men and Rachel Maddow that it will dawn on you that this was not one of your better schemes. Because it turns out that you love Mad Men and Rachel Maddow, and, oh wait- you love this guy, too. Not even just his Google+ profile, but really for real him. Obviously. And that’s probably all I need to say on the matter because at that point you are fucked and, to add insult to injury, you belong to the dumbest social media platform on the entire internet, and everyone in your contacts has been alerted to that fact.
No, none of this is a good idea, and I’d like to tell you to learn from my mistakes, but I know you won’t, and so I’ll amend my advice to be that you should try your very best only to date people whose Google+ profiles will make you smile years after you’ve broken up. Except that Google+ almost certainly won’t exist in a few years, so maybe my advice is something about loving people whose general goodness will outlive lame social networks and will, time and again, make the goodness of your ideas irrelevant.
I saw Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at The Booth Theatre yesterday, and three hours later I left with the scent of late night dew on my mind and in my nose. It’s a particular midnight dew—the kind I stumbled through when I was 18, 19, 20 on the lawn of a college near home while wet grass got between my toes and turned my flip-flops into slippery death traps. It’s a smell from that weird period of time that now, I guess, I’d call my youth. If you had asked me last year, I’d probably have called it, “like a year ago, right? No? Wait, you’re kidding me. Fuck.”
In the play, George and Martha work and live in academia, and the view from their front door conjured up the smell, which stuck. That smell really does something for me, and I pushed out of the theater last night hoping I’d find the filthy snow gone and Times Square replaced with a giant, cricket-filled lawn that I could stand in, almost alone, and breathe. The almost alone part is what I remember best– the group would have thinned out at this point, with people having gone home or paired off to smoke or bang or explore, and it would just be you and someone, or you and a few someones. And you’d be with them, but you wouldn’t really be with them because it was so quiet and still that it was just you and sky. And you wouldn’t think any of the nostalgic things you think now, when you remember it. You’d be thinking, who’s going to drive me home or how am I going to get the grass stains off my flip-flops or why did he go off with her instead of me.
Towards the end of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, when shit is really blowing up with Martha and George, she says to him something along the lines of, “Truth or illusion—does it matter to you?” Not only does it, but should it? That’s the question we’re living while we watch the two of them go at it– whether it’s possible to live without the comfort of illusion, and what happens after your illusions (and delusions) have been ripped away and all you have left is the truth.
We can argue about it all day, but when you look at anyone for long enough, you inevitably uncover a delicate string of illusions holding up their everyday, some of them conscious and some of them not. Albee knows this and rejects it in favor of truth. I’m inclined to think illusions are okay when they get the job done—the job being living, taking risks, and having hope (do not think otherwise—this is your job).
I want to yell at George to let Martha have the dreamed-up baby, just look at her, she needs it, who does it hurt? And then I think about that late night dew smell that makes me so goddamn happy. It makes me wish I could have now what I imagine I had then. But, of course, two things are true—first, that I could have it now, and second, that I didn’t have it then. So, there may be something to this truth thing after all.
The first episode of Sex and the City, which aired in 1998, raises the question of whether women can have sex “like men,” which is to say, casually, without emotional entanglements. The answer, supplied in the same episode and in ninety-three subsequent ones, is that while this is perhaps not the most exalted form of sex—sure! Why not? Its definition of a rich sex life is one that meets a certain threshold of frequency and variety; when one of the Sex and the City characters goes for three months without having sex, it’s an occasion for panic and pity.
Girls, too, raises questions in its opening episodes about how young women are to understand and make use of their sexual freedom. Should they multiply sexual encounters and partners in a spirit of adventure, brushing off embarrassing or uncomfortable episodes as all part of the alleged fun? Or should they, as Shoshanna’s self-help book would advise, demand tacit declarations of serious intent from a man before even having sex?
Both strategies are ways of containing one’s messy, inconvenient, and embarrassing emotional vulnerability, which has always seemed an obstacle to reaping the rewards of the sexual revolution. But sexual freedom is, in a way, least about sex itself. The sexual revolution is a social revolution. Men and women are free to talk to each other without prior vetting or pretext, to see each other in any setting. We can form acquaintances and friendships that are laced through with attraction and desire (or not), and of course we can form romantic attachments as well. All of us can know more people in more ways than was ever previously allowed.
In the face of such vast possibility, to think of one’s romantic life as a game of numbers and animal pleasures, on the one hand, or as one long search for a spouse, on the other, is to miss the point. We can only justify our freedom by giving full attention to the human relationships formed by sex, even if those relationships are brief or strange.
-Elaine Blair, “The Loves of Lena Dunham“, The New York Review of Books
You guys know by now that I’m pretty into tapping (also known as EFT). I have seen firsthand the ridiculously fast and epic changes tapping can create for everything from chronic pain to depression to phobias to insomnia. Honestly, it’s nuts, and I recommend it wholeheartedly for problems big and small (tapping is way better than Tylenol for headaches, for example).
Today, I want to tell you about the Tapping World Summit, a free online event that connects you to hours of tapping-centric audio from a whole host of awesome people. The 10-day Tapping World Summit is manned by Nick Ortner, a veritable guru and the guy who got me hooked, and there’s a heck of a lot to be learned by signing up, slapping on some headphones, and opening your mind. I won’t lie to you, the site design is pretty hokey and infomercial-esque, but the content is banging and totally legit, so don’t be a jerk about it.
This morning I hopped over to the site to hear Carol Look talk about tapping away self-sabotage, and I left with a new perspective on my often attempted but never achieved projects. (It is a fact that yesterday I was complaining to my friend F about a goal I constantly stress over and never get close to achieving, and we went back into our gmail archives and found that we had the exact same conversation one year ago on that day. How devastating is that? Very.)
Carol began by asking everyone to consider what success means for them, knowing that the definition varies vastly from person to person. How will you know that you’re successful? What does that look like? What does it feel like? For me, the quick and dirty answer is: a life full of love and art and fun, work that excites me and has meaning, and a beautiful place to live. That’s probably not specific enough, but you get the gist.
She went on to drop the truth bomb that self-sabotage is not a problem, it’s a solution. Even though it frustrates us, self-sabotage gives us something we want—otherwise we wouldn’t do it over and over again. This is something I’ve learned recently: even if we think the stuff we’re doing is destructive and pointless and horrible, we’re not helpless idiots. We do things intentionally, even though the motivation is usually obscured from us in the moment (things that can excavate it: therapy, drinking, writing, meditating, drinking). If we’re doing something repeatedly, it’s because it works for us on some level. Boom. Let that blow your mind for a minute.
We say we want to succeed, but our behavior doesn’t match up because success doesn’t feel safe to us. So, we unconsciously sabotage ourselves so we can stay in the safety of sameness. I don’t know about you guys, but when I heard this, I pretty much screamed “OH MY GOD, YES” in my cubicle. I mean, it’s just so true. Success is some terrifying stuff, and your mind knows that. Until you get comfortable with the idea of succeeding, you will continue to thwart your own attempts.
Carol recommends that you ask yourself a bunch of questions about your fear (what’s the downside of success? What’s the upside of staying where you are? How does it serve you to self-sabotage?) and then to tap on all of the stuff that comes up. I’m picking up what she’s putting down. Seriously, get tapping.
Things are changing over here—not in any way I can digest or describe, which is my point. It’s easy to talk about change once it’s done; being right smack in the middle of it is not a great position for generating insightful commentary or sometimes any commentary at all.
That “Sex, Dating, and Self-discovery” tagline up there by the Ega Jones has been a constant, nagging visitor in my vodka-addled brain for the past few months, mostly because it used to make sense but now maybe it doesn’t. I’m not sure that “Sex, Dating, and Self-discovery” is what I should be writing about anymore (I can only claim to be skilled in one of three areas), and also maybe I don’t want to talk about that stuff all the time, either. I might have other concerns. I also might not.
The point is that I don’t know what I want to talk about, and it would make sense to wait until I have clarity around that before polluting this blog with weird posts about, say, pigeon serial killers and other things that concern me but are not really “a good fit” for this space. And then I was like, oh wait, I’m the one who gets to decide who writes about what here. So, I’ve decided that this blog is about nothing for the time being. It is not NOT about the things it used to be about, but it is decidedly not about them. Which is just to say to get ready to hear about stuff like Fairway almond butter and awkward happy hours and how I desperately want (but am secretly terrified of) both contact lenses and a dog.
Oh my God, you guys, something really freaking exciting happened. I went to the doctor this past week, and it turns out that somewhere between my 25th and 26th birthdays, I grew an inch! That’s right: I am five feet and five inches tall now, which is an entire inch taller than I have ever been in my entire life. I MEAN, WHAT!?
I have been 5′ 4″ since I was in sixth grade, which is also how long I’ve been rocking this bra size. (Okay, that’s a lie, I got a professional bra fitting this past summer and completely changed bra sizes, but I’m pretty sure the cans underneath have been the same since I was 13. By the way, I’m bringing back “cans.” I sort of hate it already.) Anyway, my point is that I didn’t grow for 12 whole years, and then, all of a sudden, I did– an entire inch.
This is some exciting shit. I had pretty much decided that I had the body I’d have for eternity, except for, you know, it getting increasingly worse as I aged. I figured I was physically declining every year since I turned 18 (yeah, I’m not sure where I got that one either), but I’m totally not! I’m still on the up and up! I grew an inch! An entire inch! Do you know what’s in that extra inch? HOPE, THAT’S WHAT! I am pretty sure that if I can grow an inch at age 26, I can do anything. I think you probably can, too.
Go get ‘em this week, kids. I plan to.
On December 31, I realized that I hadn’t cried in a single bar in 2012. I had to go back and fact check that by searching for “happy hour cry” in my inbox and scouring the 91 gchats and emails that popped up. Everything I found corroborated this revelation, so I’m standing by it. (What would I do without an inbox that doubles as my memory?)
For those of you who don’t have a track record of bursting into tears in bars, this probably doesn’t sound like an impressive feat, but more like being a mentally stable, adult person. I get that. The thing is, I am not much of a mentally stable, adult person, and I certainly wasn’t one of those last December 31, so I am proud and surprised that I get to claim this victory. I have done some dubious things this year, but none of them involved mental breakdowns over vodka-sodas.
I uncovered this win while I was drinking champagne with my roommate on the floor of our living-room-slash-kitchen in our brand new, bite-sized apartment. We were talking about this time when we were living in Delaware and drinking in Philly. We took ourselves to an outrageously expensive dinner that neither of us could remotely afford, I cried in a gay bar, and then we almost missed the last train home and had to sprint, drunk, through the pouring rain to the station.
In stories like this that I’ve heard before, the person telling it would say, I barely recognize that girl now—I’m so different and so much has changed. I’m not going to say that. I still totally get that chick, and she is still very much here. But also, I’m different and everything has changed. Both of those things are true.
There is something to be said here about not selling your former self out, about not dismissing her as a crazy lunatic that needed to be fixed. People change, but you are always everything that you were. No one gets a pure, clean slate, and that’s kind of the point. To register growth, you have to see and own where you started, even if it’s twisted and hideous. You do yourself no favors when you disown your past iterations; you just make the foundation for continued change even more rickety than it already is.
I still get sad in bars sometimes, but I’ve gotten better at knowing when to call it a night. Knowing when to call it quits is a hard thing about being a person that no one tells you about. Unless you stop something, it won’t stop. You have to do the stopping. Unless you take yourself home when you’re no longer fit to be out, you’ll still be out. No one else knows it’s time to go. The buck starts and stops with you. Maybe they do tell you that, but it eluded me for awhile. Sometimes I still find myself waiting for someone else to push me to do the thing that only I know I need to do.
This past year has been a year full of shit to be proud of and shit to mourn, but the thing that stands out is that I managed to kick this unsavory pattern to the curb without knowing I was doing it. I wish I could tell you how I did it, because everyone has their own version of crying at a bar, and everyone wants to move past it and be better. I don’t know how I did it. I went to work, I stopped writing so much, I moved, I went to therapy twice a week, and somewhere in there it happened, as a sidebar. It was a collateral damage kind of thing, only with healing.
There’s no promise that I won’t start crying in bars again. And I know that even if I don’t do it, I’ll probably feel like it sometimes. But, you know, baby steps. Change, with a capital “C”, might happen so gradually that you don’t notice it until it’s there. At least, that’s what I’m beginning to suspect.
I hope that you all have plunged into the new year with intentions and hearts blazing. I know you have, because you’re awesome like that. I also hope that you will uncover the little ways you’ve changed over the past year—the things you’ve started and stopped that might have gone unnoticed. When you see the progress you’ve unwittingly made, give yourselves a high five for me.
Oh, and tell me about it. I am dying to hear.
I officially have a skincare product buying problem. Here’s how I know: Yesterday, a box from Kiehls arrived at the apartment, and when I sheepishly confessed to my roommate that it was an eye serum, all he said was “I wasn’t going to bring it up.”
Okay, there’s another way that I know: my skincare routine has tripled in steps, products, and expense over the last month. Here’s what I do to my face twice a day: wash it, tone it with witch hazel, apply face serum (purchased at Duane Reade along with peanut butter and water upon Hurricane Sandy’s arrival), apply moisturizer, apply eye serum, apply eye cream, stare at face and wonder if any of this is doing anything.
Here’s what I used to do to my face: wash it once a day and go to sleep. I am not kidding you when I say that I didn’t begin to use moisturizer on my face until about a year ago. I just thought it was optional, and that I probably didn’t need it. When I eventually decided to seek out moisturizer and eye cream, I nearly had a mental breakdown trying to pick a product, and more or less gave up (by which I mean, I bought stuff and then never used it). I never used to be a skincare regimen type of person, but now, oh my god, I so am.
Now I just need to be doing all of this somewhere like here.
The obsession crept up on me, and by the time I realized it, it was too late. It started with a simple decision to buy a moisturizer that has fewer toxic chemicals than most (I have no illusions that any of the products I use are in any way chemical-free). So, I took to the internet, which was probably my first mistake. Googling and spending hours on makeup alley led me to pick a moisturizer that I actually think has cleared and calmed my skin and will buy again. Not that bad, right?
Except, no. Because the internet then introduced me to the concept of serums. The word “serum” just sounds magical and powerful, like someone has been toiling in a lab for years developing something to cure all of your problems. Serums sound like they work. And so it became obvious that I needed to get myself involved in the world of serums, which I did, and so far I have absolutely no regrets about it (except the minor concern that my face serum looks remarkably like jizz).
It feels important to me to point out the price of these things. My regimen is as follows: Boots Botanics Complexion Refining Mousse ($8.99), Witch hazel ($5.00), Boots Botanics Face Renewal Cream ($13.99), Eclos Cellular Activator Face Serum ($24.99), Kiehls Line -reducing Eye-brightening Concentrate ($41.00), Olay Total Effects Eye Transforming Cream ($21.99 , not really recommended). So, I’m clocking in at $115.96 for the entire regimen. Pretty freaking ridiculous (although I will say that all of these things last for a really long time, with the exception of the mousse).
One could ostensibly spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on skincare products—and not even fancy famous people, just NORMAL PEOPLE. Half of the serums I investigated on the internet were more than $100, and people buy entire lines of this stuff. The thing is, based on reviews, it would appear that these super pricey products work, so I can’t say it’s not worth your investment. It could be. Although, the question remains of what exactly working means—what is this ideal face is that we all want or are being told that we want? And why are we so willing to spend zillions of dollars striving for it?
Personally, I began to get sucked into all of this one morning, after having had entirely too much to drink the night before, when I woke up and looked in the mirror—and I looked old. My skin was cloudy, my eyes were puffy and saggy at the same time, and I instantly thought, holy shit I am getting old and if I keep drinking like this, I’m going to get old really fast. Since we all know I’m not going to give up drinking anytime soon, I needed to seek out an alternate plan.
I know all about the media and women and aging, and I know that I’m a marketer’s dream. I get that I’m conforming to society’s messed up ideas about beauty and gender, and that I’m a total cog in the machine. But one of the reasons why this has been so addictive is that I absolutely love the ritual of having a skincare regimen. It makes me feel like a fancy, grown-up lady (which we know I most certainly am not). The ritual of applying all of this stuff every morning and evening is totally glam and makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself. Sure, I never, ever moisturize my elbows (just isn’t that much fun) and haven’t been to the gym in weeks, but my face is fussed over at least twice a day, and it makes me feel shiny and new.
My skincare ritual has forced me to spend more time hanging out with myself and actually experience a moment in my own skin. This fear of getting old that generates crappy self-esteem for tons of people (not just women) has made me pay more attention to myself, which in turn has made me feel better about myself. Things can be weird like that. This weird fear has ended up making me like myself more.
I’m not saying that developing a fancy lady skincare regimen is going to make you feel better, and I’m not even really endorsing it as a good thing to do. What I’m saying is that sometimes addressing your fears and spending some time soothing them can make you feel less afraid.
Sometimes, when you’re worried about your face, allowing yourself to care and investing in a routine that solidifies that care can make you start appreciating your face. Touching your terror instead of ignoring it can make a big difference. So today, I feel okay. I also feel like I might want to purchase a satin pillow.
Hi, guys. After nearly going insane due to lack of power, I managed to escape the city for Delaware, where I’m currently snuggled up next to my parents’ new puppy doing some work and watching Veep. (I need to shout out the GPS iPhone app Waze, which navigated me flawlessly and safely to Delaware– an amazing, free resource for all of you drivers out there)
I’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness–I’ve never had so many people offer to let me shower at their apartments! It’s kind of amazing. And just so you know, I consider it an open invitation so I’ll be showing up at some time in the future to shower with each and every one of you. Thank you for your generosity, and to those of you who have come out of the woodwork, I’m glad to have you back.
Just wanted to give you the update. I hope you’re all warm and dry, and if you’re looking to help those who aren’t, go here.