Wednesday, December 5, 2012

17 Again

All of a sudden I’m 17 again.

And not really in a refreshing all of a sudden I’m hot like Zac Efron and the basketball captain again kind of way, but more like I’m back in my freshman year of college.  It’s the most confusing kind of senioritis, the one that takes you back 4 years and firmly digs its heels in, refusing to let you realize that graduation is imminent.

All of my friends I came in with have graduated, married, had kids, moved away, became missionaries or cosmetologists and left me here alone. I’ve bonded hard and fast with this year’s crop of freshman, all of us proud to be North Park Vikings and not held down with engagement rings or student loans yet. It’s easy enough to forget that I’m old when I'm in my sheep’s clothing amongst these new recruits.

But then I leave Albany Park and am immediately swarmed with questions about what I'm doing after graduation, where I’m living, what I’m doing, if I’m excited, if I’m scared, what my parents are saying, have I got my graduation tickets yet? And all I want to do is retreat back into the dorms, drink coffee and pretend that I just started college and that these questions have nothing to do with me. 

The weird thing is, I know what I'm doing.

 I don’t have that post graduation uncertainty lingering over me. I'm going to whatever country requests me and serving in the Peace Corps for 2 years. It’s a fully respectable position, doesn’t require a lot of explanation, is impressive enough that my parents can say it over their respective operating tables and not feel the need to avert their eyes in shame.

If anyone should feel okay it about graduating, it should be me.

But I don’t.

The idea of leaving Chicago, or more directly leaving North Park is enough to send me into a blind panic. North Park is my home. I grew up here. I became a woman here. I met my best friends here. I found my voice here. North Park was always waiting for me to come back from New York or Disney and the thought of leaving it for good gives me the Chipotle brick in my stomach, but in a much less satisfying way.

I’m 22 and clinging to the idea of re-living my freshman year again. One last semester of being in my safe place before I have to move to a third world country, become financially independent and start being a grown up.

Is that such a bad thing?

I have 5 months until graduation. 5 months to be in love with North Park for one last time. 5 months to get ready for the world that I’ve been dying to see. I’ll get there, whether or not I can see it now.

I just hope the world is ready for me. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One for the Boys.

On my trip home from Detroit this weekend, my friend and I exchanged a lot of “Why do women do this?” and “Yeah, well why do guys do this?” I’m not sure if he is any clearer on why girls do things, despite my efforts. And he was very patient with my most likely inappropriately probing questions.
I’m still lost.
You really can’t know what it’s like to be a girl unless you are one. If it helps you at all, sometimes we don’t really understand what our problem is half the time. But be assured, it probably has something to do with you boys.
When he turned to me and asked me a question, I could hear the exasperation in his voice. Like he’s been trying all his life to be a nice guy and he still comes off like an asshole.
Even though I don’t fully understand what I feel some of the time,  here’s some of what I do know.
Lesson 1: Girls never forget their first loves.
This is the first time that a girl experiences the complex emotions of holding a boy’s hand and the first time that you really understand a love song. Since you’re usually 15 or something, they never work.
(If you’re one of the 6 people who married their high school sweetheart, you don’t count. But you don’t count for a lot of things anyway, so this shouldn’t be new.)
Guys, if you feel like they bring them up a lot, it’s because they had a lasting impact. It doesn’t mean that they care about you any less. They’re just always going to be there in some capacity. Buy them a beer or something.
Lesson 2: If they’ve had their heart broken, it’s going to take you a bit longer
This cock-blocks a lot of guys. They like a girl, but all she can talk about is how her last guy told her that since she wasn’t attractive enough to hold his attention, he would probably cheat on her and it wouldn’t work out between them. Or something like that.
This should have nothing to do with the next guy, but without fail, it’s going to. Any one who’s ever seen the wake of a hurricane or watched a documentary on Pearl Harbor knows the devastation of tragedy. While it seems petty to compare your problems to these massive ones, to a girl, having her heart broken is going to rank up there with these.
If you really care about her, you need to be willing to push past these things. You’re going to need to put a bit of work into this one.
Lesson 3: Don’t be fast and loose with the word ‘Beautiful’
That there are so many words to objectify a woman, but really only one that will make them feel good about themselves. Beautiful.
But here’s a secret: women know when you mean it and when you really don’t.
When someone says that you’re beautiful right after you tell them something devastating that happened to you, it always sounds insincere. Like they just want to make you feel better.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice thing to say. But when you say it, it seems like what you’re really saying is “You have a beautiful soul.” or “You’re a really great friend to me.” Something like that. When I’m of the opinion that the only real difference between love and friendship is physical attraction, this kind of ‘beautiful’ is a death sentence.
Lesson 4: Listen to what we mean, not what we say
I know this is the most frustrating one.
Sometimes, even the most outspoken of us (ahem) have a hard time saying what we want to say. Read our body language, read our blogs, try to understand us more than you listen to us.
Lesson 5: All girls have a secret Princess Complex
This one is embarrassing for any feminist to admit, but we like the notion of being saved. Let me explain though.
We don’t mean that our lives aren’t complete without a man to tell us we’re pretty, but that when you fall in love, it really should enhance your life. We want to be rescuing the guy as much as they’re rescuing us. I hypothesize that men think the same thing, but don’t really have a label for it or know what they’re feeling exactly, but you guys have a Princess Complex too. We should be rescuing each other.
There’s thousands more, but that’s all I’ve got for you boys today. The bottom line is- just love us, okay? At the end of the day, that’s all we can really ask of you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Never Say Goodbye

Goodbyes are not something anyone is good at. And if you are, you should write a book and jack up the price of publication because the world wants to know.

I am many things, spontaneous and flighty being two of them. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s a little hard when I can almost hear my parents sigh when they answer their phones, knowing that I probably have something new that I think I might want to do. Sometimes I think they’ve given up hope that I’ll ever find one thing to stick with.

They never know what I’m going to tell them next.

I usually don’t either.

It’s really great for people that know what they want to do and they go out and do it. They get the grades and then become surgeons. Or they see a burning bush that tells them to go help people. They have something that guides them to an end.

But to me, that idea makes me squirm. I don’t like the idea of an ending, and that’s all anyone seems to get. They know where they want to get. I’m more interested in how to get there.

Despite never having a steady answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I don’t mind being a wanderer, struck with a bad case of the SOTHS (Somewhere Other Than Here Syndrome. Don’t ask, it itches). Too many wonderful people have become part of my life because of wandering. I’ve seen things and I’ve been in love, and there were good and bad times in both. I can’t say my last breakup or anytime I’ve spent in Canada was the high point of my life, but living at Disney world and having more best friends than any one person needs seems to balance it out for me.

I have had to say goodbye many times. But I’ve been the luckiest person to always have Hellos again when I’m supposed to. I think that’s all a wanderer can really ask of the world.

“Never say goodbye. Because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
 ~Peter Pan

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fifty Shades of Cock Block.

Okay, while I try not to fancy myself as someone who follows the crowd, sometimes I give in.

Being surrounded by women at my new job is a brand new experience. One that’s interesting but yields different types of rules. Comments need to be thought through, hair flips need to be poignant and sometimes eye contact needs to be broken. Keep your head down, do your work.

But when in women town, do as the women do and all the women are reading fifty Shades of Grey. The English major inside of me doesn’t like to be kept out of any kind of conversation about books, so I hastily jumped onto this bandwagon.

The book itself is odd. It’s popularity stems from a mainstream book having such erotic imagery that is usually reserved to a mattress book or the back pages of Cosmo. But Christian Grey puts it out there for all to see.

Reading it confuses a lot in me, mostly because I don’t believe the character of Grey. Someone who is so into bondage and possession gives way when a confused virgin enters his world? I doubt if this were true life someone like him would even invite someone like her into his Red Room of Pain.

This then begs the question, how does this affect the men?

I have so many guy friends. I like them because they’re simple. Uncomplicated men who say what they’re thinking. How many relationships are confused because this is the way that men really are when all the books and movies paint them as these complicated layers that need to be peeled away?

I wonder what men think when they read this book. The women have had such a reaction to the complexity of Grey, that I know men are picking it up just to figure out why their women are all of a sudden glaring at them when Sinatra comes on and they’re not immediately asked to dance.

Sorry, boys.

But I bet it’s not the first time a fictional character has cock-blocked you.

And let me tell you a secret…

We’re not as complicated as we seem. This won’t be the last time it happens to you. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Can't get no satisfaction

Some famous person, philosopher, writer, someone, once said something like satisfaction is the first step toward death.

Something to that effect.

Like, if you stop dreaming, aspiring to something more than what you’ve achieved, you’ve given up.

What happens when you have a dream for your whole life and you achieve it? Satisfaction is an unacceptable reaction to that, apparently. I go back and forth about how I feel about this whole thing.

I know when I first read this; I nodded, understanding where they were coming from. Born with the heart of a wanderer, I think that this is something that I can get behind, at least for the foreseeable future.

Having decided to forgo all the things it seems everyone else is doing, mainly getting married, having babies or just doing what their parents did in general, the whole world has opened up to me. I can go wherever and do whatever I want with only my dreams to keep me company.

Satisfaction seems to be the last thing that I want. Half the fun of getting somewhere is the journey. How do people fuel themselves further when there is nothing driving them?  Satisfaction seems like the last thing in the world most people want.

It’s really an odd idea- that we spend so much time working toward satisfaction and then loathe it when it gets here. Like maybe the journey was the best part, but we didn’t realize it until we got there. And we really wished we had taken more pictures.

That’s all I’m planning for right now- the journey. Because I don’t know where it’s leading yet. Maybe I’ll meet satisfaction someday down the road. Maybe not. But I’d like, if I ever do meet it someday, to maybe meet it on my way out of here, so that I can hold it’s hand, okay that we didn’t meet sooner.

Life is all about the journey. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I’ve always been afraid of clowns.

I couldn’t tell you why. As far as I can remember, I’ve had no traumatizing experience. I didn’t get lost at a circus as a kid and wander into the clowns tent and see them shooting up or anything. I just don’t like them. I never will.

When people ask me what I’m afraid of, clowns are always my answer.

But when someone scoffs at a story idea, or tells me a character isn’t believable, my dialogue too trite, do I really get gripped with the one thing that could scare me more than a vat of clowns- the fear of failing.

I’ve always felt like my dreams are too big for the world that I live in. My feet were never on the ground, and my head was always in the clouds. I wanted to be an actress; I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be a chef, a lawyer, a teacher. I changed my mind so many times because I was worried about failing.

There was always someone better than I was. Or someone who had more people that believed in them. I come from sensible stock- a modest family that believes in hearty careers that if you are willing to work, you can do it. Doctors, nurses, engineers. Scientists. But I blew in from Dreamland. Where everything is a possibility and the world is too big for me to stay in one place.

I see people that just seize their dreams in a chokehold until they get them. People who are in bands that got their chance when they were 17. Singers who put a video up on YouTube and got signed by Usher. Luck found them, and they are doing what they’re supposed to.

But how do you keep your faith in a world that’s running out of room for dreams? Too many people want too many things. When you have to depend on your parents for everything because no one will look at your manuscript. How do we grow up and give our dreams a good kick in the pants?

Dreamers are always lonely. I think that’s because only people with huge dreams would be willing to call themselves dreamers. These people are often frowned upon by society. Such hope makes most people uncomfortable.

But at this moment in time, people need to get used to it. I refuse to leave this world without having meant something to it. I don’t want to live trapped in a dream that I couldn’t fight my way out of to make it happen.

I have to find what my path is. I know it’s to something amazing. I was meant for more than I’m living now. I know I am. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I've got promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I’m so blaringly single.

I get frustrated that I can’t walk two feet without running into a couple in love or hearing a really sweet couple story. When plans are being made, people have to check in with each other. A sickening smile crosses most people’s faces when their special someone’s special ringtone goes off and they answer the phone like they haven’t spoken to them in years despite the fact I just had to watch a very lingering goodbye kiss minutes before.

They seem to have found all that they need. And maybe that’s enough for them. I wouldn’t know. Maybe falling in love is what most people wait for. It certainly is what keeps the movie and music industry in business.

But is it the end of dreams?

The universal thing about college is that while the buffer of education surrounds us, we can dream that the world beyond is whatever we need it to be. Nothing is out of our reach. All pre-med majors want to build clinics in Botswana. All French majors want to spend their years sampling cheese in Paris. All English majors will publish the greatest American Novel.

But when we fall in love, these dreams lay forgotten in the darkest parts of our brain. This big bully, Love, sweeps through and nothing else matters. He’s a big selfish brat, Love, and he needs to be the center of attention.

Too many times I’ve seen people forget the dreams they had for themselves to focus on the dream of the couple. To do what’s best for them. Decisions are made to make the relationship last. When they do forgo the relationship to do something they’ve wanted to, like study abroad or finish a degree, they spend the whole time missing the person they left behind, effectively ruining the experience you left for in the first place.

If I was a dream, I would say what the fuck.

Our dreams have been there for us for so long, and yet they are always forgotten when love comes along. Love has a way of making you think that being wanted by someone else has been the dream all along.

Think about what you wanted to do before your relationships. Are you still working towards those things?

I can’t feel too upset about being single when my dreams are already too big for me. I love all of my friends that have found that other person. I am so happy for them.

But like Robert Frost said, “I’ve got shit to do.”

Actually, I think he said something like “I’ve got promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” But I was paraphrasing. Maybe falling in love is enough for them.  But it’s not for me.

Maybe love only seems like the enemy of dreams from an outsider looking in. Maybe there really is someone out there that will only be help and never a hindrance. Maybe there’s someone who will always be your sounding board, who never tells you to calm down, or think rationally. Who never asks “What about me?” But can you be that person back to them? Will it ever be fair to both of you? Is it worth it to even look?

Can a dreamer ever really fall in love?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Love Today- A Lesson Inspired by One Direction

The word of the day is rescue.

Rescue- to free or deliver from confinement.

There is a story that was told in some movie or another that speaks of a bird who had been in a cage its whole life and then all of a sudden it is set free and all it looks for is a way to get back into the cage because that’s all its ever known.

How often do we live in the familiar? Change is frowned upon and is something to be avoided at all costs. With everyone around me graduating, everyone has made their Plans. Big Plans that are going to outline their lives, to make their transition into the real world as seamless as possible. To make the change not a change at all, but a transition.

But rescue is different. The word seeps with drama. To rescue implies that one was once in danger. And something or someone came in to change that.

A new infatuation with One Direction has me thinking about what it must be like to be 18 and have the entire world watching everything that you do, and criticizing harshly. They ask for rescue in one of their songs. Is it a Hollywood written ballad, or are they sincerely asking to be delivered from something?

I’m here to argue that we’re all in a cage. One that we choose to be in. Like the boys in One Direction, who alongside the adoration of the entire teenage set of English girls also have to deal with the hatred of the world. We may not have it tweeted right to us like those poor boys, but we have it pressing down on us.

An inclination to impatience, a stressful set of circumstances or the lowest self-esteem can all be things that can lead us into hate. This cage of hate entraps us and we just live inside it, wondering why the sun doesn’t shine anymore.

But I know that just within the reach of our fingertips is love that we can all pull into our lives and give to other people.

It’s so much simpler to just not care about anyone. But that’s no way to live. That’s no way to love.

A offhand comment about someone’s outfit, or a vehement dislike of a certain celebrity may seem like small potatoes compared to war and terrorism, but let’s be truthful- they had to start somewhere.

I’m going to call all of you to reach out of your cage that you may not even know you’re in and decide to not hate for just one day.

Just one day of trying to find the best in people and of smiling at people who look like they need it. If this happens for just one day, what if it could change the energy of the world? If a war could be started by an offhand comment, maybe it could be stopped by a sincere inquiry about someone’s day.

I’m calling you all to Love Today. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yes or No. There is no Maybe.

“How do you know when the yes is coming?”

This question was posed by the lovely Addison Montgomery on the most recent episode of Private Practice. At first I just wanted to kill her, because seriously, who would turn her down?

But for us mere mortals left here in the wake of what Hollywood has created, we can ask, “How do you know?”

Is it just human nature to say no? And how do you know when someone means it? Rape advocates tell us all, “No means no.” which in the case of that, yes true. Okay. But what about the more complex questions when it comes to relationships?

I know that I’ve told people no, and I’ve really meant it. Either I just wasn’t attracted to them, or they had cut up a screen with a box cutter a week before Prom (true story, by the way) but in any case, it was like rape. No means no.

But sometimes it’s not so cut and dry. Sometimes it’s for the greater good. Or something that even I don’t know why I’m saying no. Which seems so much easier.

But hearing no from someone else, that’s the most heartbreaking thing in the world. Unrequited love is why the Lifetime Movie Network can stay afloat. Once, years ago must be at least 8 years by now, I asked my cousin what the most attractive quality was in a woman. He pondered for a minute, and I was expecting something like brains or loyalty or something, and instead his answer was “persistence.”

Was his answer just setting me up to fail? But with that, I am persistent. Maybe too much so. I always tell myself that the right guy won’t mind that I don’t let up. In fact, it’ll be the thing he likes about me the most. But I have to fight my way through a lot of dragons first.

And the real question is, how do you know the yes is coming? When do you give up on someone? When can you know that someone’s answer for saying no is concrete or are they just pretending? Too scared, or too something to say yes?

We all need to learn to say what we mean. If you mean no, then you mean no. People move on. They eat ice cream, or go running or kill themselves. Something that eventually makes it go away. But it’s the maybe. Or the no that doesn’t have any kind of reason behind it that drags on.

If you think for even a second that it might be yes, then you should go for it. Tell that person. Because the only thing that keeps truckers awake is cocaine. And sooner or later, they’re going to OD and hit you head on, effectively ending your life. Do you really want to be killed by a trucker and not ever have said yes?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Ubiquitous Man- A Love Story

While we were growing up and watching Wiley Coyote chase the Road Runner and then get an anvil dropped on his head, I’m not sure why we weren’t more confused. What even was a Road Runner? I’ve never seen one. I’ve also never seen an anvil. We don’t have many blacksmiths in suburbia.

Yet we nodded along, laughing like we knew what was going on. But when we toured a historic town and saw a real anvil, did we recognize it from all those cartoons? If you were out west, would you recognize a roadrunner?

It’s the same with the men of Chick flicks. They’re a dime a dozen. Every one has an equation. There is very little differentiation between them. They’re all impulsive, loving, passionate, and ‘different’. They are set-apart men.

And like we always picture the purple plumage on the roadrunner, we always think of set-apart dreamers when we look for men.

Men don’t realize we’ve been waiting all our lives for them. It’s no one’s fault but Hollywood. No story is complete without a love story in it. The Hunger Games couldn’t only be about 24 children fighting to the death and an uprising, there had to be a love triangle. Star Wars couldn’t only be about light vs. dark, Han Solo and Princess Leia had to fall in love. Hollywood tells us that as great as our story is, it won’t end happily ever after unless we’ve found a partner.

So we wait. We wait for the man that Hollywood says is everywhere.  So ubiquitous that they have a movie released every Friday. Yet we can’t seem to find them anywhere. No wonder men think we’re crazy.

This is why women wear Yoga pants with thongs and fitted tops when we work out, our sleek hair pulled back into ponytails with completely dysfunctional yet stylish headbands. The perfect man could be anywhere, even at the gym.

We dream that someday we will have someone to break up our morning jog. That the ubiquitous man will be waiting at a halfway point with a cup of coffee. So we dress for them. Who knows when one might crop up? We stare straight ahead, hawk-eyed, not wanting to miss them.

We wear bras and cute clothes to bed. Because how often does the Hollywood ubiquitous man knock on the window in the middle of the night? We wouldn’t want to be caught with our glasses on and out retainers in. So we wait, on silk bed sheets with our hair down, eyes closed, but listening…

We’re ready at all times because there never is a set up. The ubiquitous man always comes by serendipity.

So we wait. Dreaming that Hollywood wasn’t lying this time, that the right adjective to describe the leading man really is ubiquitous, that they’re everywhere and we’ll recognize them when we see them.  

But sometimes the roadrunner doesn’t have the fantastic plumage. Sometimes they are just brown and dusty and we don’t recognize them. And sometimes the man isn’t waiting for you halfway or knocking on your window for a nighttime stroll. Sometimes he’s just getting his mail. Or sleeping while we wait. You’re supposed to be everywhere, did you get lost along the way?

Yet even though we know the roadrunner is brown, not purple and even though we know that not all of you will be searching for us, we still keep our heads up, hoping you’re just lost. Our eyes are focused forward, looking for your plumage. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

People Are People and Sometimes It Doesn't Work Out.

Sometimes people let you down.

And it’s time that we let them go.

As a packrat, I have so many things that I just don’t need. My room in Syracuse is littered with things that I just can’t throw away. T shirts from every event I’ve ever been to that I won’t even wear to the gym, triple copies of every article I’ve ever published just in case a job interview wants hard copies and plenty of pictures that star someone’s wrist or a blurred action shot that I’m not even sure why they were developed.

I hold onto things because I don’t ever want to forget.

But sometimes you need to forget.  Sometimes friends forget the inside jokes you had, or your secret handshakes. Sometimes first loves get married, and that effectively ends a chapter in your book. Maybe it was one that you had thought closed long ago, but really it wasn’t over until the epilogue.

But sometimes it’s a present thing.

There are too many negative forces in the world, especially for someone like me. As a dreamer, my thoughts wander to every thing that is possible. I want to visit every country in the whole entire world. I know there are over 200 of them, but I still want to. Plenty of people have raised their eyebrows, lips pursed around their judgment.

Going out to clubs, people don’t need to tell me that I’m not the ideal specimen for a scene like that. When men’s eyes graze over me onto the next girl at the bar, it takes me back to middle school, when I used to grease my hair, or leave my shoes untied, desperately trying to fit in, finding I just stuck out more.

Too many people say no, shake their heads and get frustrated with the way I live my life. I can’t say that they don’t effect me. I can’t say that I study the LSATs because I want to be a lawyer. Or that I work out because it makes me feel good. But it makes them more comfortable, being able to say I’m a work in progress. 

Which I am. But not for them.

There’s no room for poison in our lives. No room for haters, as my students would tell you.

Trim the fat in your life. Find your thesis statement, and live by it. Examine your relationships. What do they add?

People think I have so few friends because I have no choice.


Who wouldn’t want to be my friend?

I don’t have very many because I don’t want them. I would rather have a few friends who support and love me and whom I know completely. I’m not overwhelmingly fond of surprises. I like to know people as well as I can. It makes winning Apples to Apples so much easier.

Sometimes that means letting people go, even ones you never thought you would.

I have to hope that it’s the right thing to do, even if all I want to do as you’re walking away is scream for you to come back.

A cry that never emerges is somewhere inside you too, one that you thought was for me, but turns out isn’t. Turns out I didn’t matter as much as you thought either.

We will someday, just not to each other. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman

I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.

In theory, just a Britney Spears song. One that was premiered at the end of a roughly written, yet a guilty pleasure of a movie, which chronicles the road trip to California we all hope to take someday.

While some may scoff at Britney, she’s a rock. The ultimate comeback kid and one of the few Hollywood Divas who can rock being bald. After her brief aneurysm that can also be referred to as Kevin Federline, she managed to pull herself out of the coma that threatens all of us after a marriage ends. Or any relationship for that matter.

But the most complex relationship that she pinpoints is the internal struggle of females. And she does it simply- I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.

One could argue that a girl becomes a woman when she turns 18. That’s how the government views them anyway. All it takes is the tick of a clock to take me from adolescent to adult.

However, the only change I felt on my 18th birthday was massive discomfort as my mother dragged me to an adult bookstore to celebrate “because we could.” I guess it could have been worse. She could have made me fight for my country or get married. Anyway, basically just another day.

But I’m 21 now, a senior in college and have successfully lived in 3 different cities. I should be a woman by now. I can keep myself alive, cook a meal, vote and shoot whiskey (legally).

Yet, why is it that I always feel like I’m still a teenager? That when I have to make an appointment for myself or wear ‘business casual’ attire I feel like a little girl playing dress-up?

Maybe it’s my complete lack of direction. Sometimes I feel like I have my words and nowhere to put them. Perhaps all it would take is a call from the New York Times for me to feel like I’m a woman. Career direction, financial stability, all things that my parents can discuss in their respective operating rooms during the rudimentary ‘let’s see whose kid wins today’ talk.

Maybe it’s being single. This I feel like should be zapped off because any psychiatrist worth their salt will tell you that how others view you isn’t important. Yet, there’s no time when a woman feels more powerful that when a man finds them beautiful. This is the secret no one knows, no men anyway. The one we women keep a secret, hidden away so no one can get to it. Maybe a man makes a woman, no matter how much we don’t want to admit it.

Or is it something else?

Is it okay that I sometimes feel like a girl? In discussions of life and love with my family, I constantly hear “you’re an adult now” or “you can make your own decisions, after all you’re 21.”

 Ironically, it’s the times that they say this that I feel the youngest of all. Like I may as well be sucking my thumb while we discuss my tuition bill or internship opportunities.

Maybe it’s forever a state of being, this in-between stage. Maybe girls never fully reach womanhood.

Men can hold on to their childhood abandon in the love they give to their favorite sports teams and my mother and her friends became 16 again when Davy Jones died.

Maybe limbo is where we all live forever.

I just hope the taxes are reasonable. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Zombie of Emotion

As another unsuccessful night at the bars draw to a close, I remain unconvinced that people really meet at them. At least not for more than a few hours.

Really, a night out is exhausting. You need to shower. And usually blow dry. Possibly moisturize. And you have to put something together that is cute, shows enough skin to keep people looking, but not enough that you freeze to death because, hello stupid girls at the club with halters and no coat, it’s Chicago. You have to wrestle with Spanx and boots and eyelash curlers and stupid things and that’s even before you get to the club.

You need to find a place, a good one, with good “prospects”. But really, what is a good “prospect”? Basically a guy with hair and a decent shirt who makes eye contact sometimes. That’s the definition of a prospect? In the light of day, that wouldn’t be enough. Ironically, the light of day is when I have on leggings and a hoodie, yet apparently I’m pickiest.

And then there are the girls. There are always girls that are hotter than you, better dancers than you, with shorter skirts than you.  You have to compete with them, trying to dance even with the complex they give you. 

They probably can’t string a sentence together, but it’s a club, who cares?

And if against all odds, you manage to start dancing with a guy, or talking to one, what are they really after? They’re there for the same reason you are. They objectify you, and you spent 2 hours looking good for their objectification. 

You really can’t be mad at them when you aided and abetted them.

It’s times like these when I look at my couple friends nestled at home and think that they are missing out on a social ritual that I really wish I could.

There are the stupid token couple friends that we all have that met at a bar or a club that really ruin things for us. We think that if it worked for them, it can work for us.

Fuck those friends, they’re the exception. Be happy for them, but get over it.

When you end a night of bar hopping at a bar which is having its Salute to Country Night with a desperate soprano singing lead, you wonder if the 5 dollar beer in your hand is worth the stare down of the bearded man across the room. How bad would pizza and a movie have been?

What keeps us trying again and again when every night ends with “never again”?

Hope is the fucking zombie of emotion. It never goes away, no matter how many times it’s killed.

So we keep putting heels on. We keep spending our weekends crammed like sardines in pulsating clubs meeting less than stellar people.

Because who knows? Maybe this time it will be different. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Cheese Stands Alone

People really fall in love.

I mean some people. Not me.

Well, I fall in love, but other people don’t. Not with me anyway.

Sometimes I wonder if the whole thing is some cosmological joke. Like people find each other and that’s that. There are 6 billion people on the planet. I may be more right-brained, but even I can figure out that finding someone you can deal with the rest of your life is difficult.

Yet everyone is hurrying around, desperate to grab into someone before graduation. Apparently we have an expiration date, and it comes with tassels and a gown.

North Park offers B.A.’s and some M.A.’s but so many come and leave with their MRS. Degree. Is that really the only thing that you want to take away from college? Can we logically believe that everyone is really right here? I mean, how convenient. You barely had to break a sweat on that one.

I can’t seem to watch a show, or have coffee with a friend or even walk through the library without being blasted with loneliness for all the people around me.

I left for 5 months and everyone paired off.

And the cheese stands alone.

But it’s not even like I’m Brie that people pretend to like even though they get really frustrated with my rind or even a Kraft single that everyone loves but only kids are comfortable enough to admit it.

No, I’m the smelly cheese that sits alone at Whole Foods with a half off sticker on it and still nobody wants to come near it. No one would eat me if they paid them.

Okay, maybe if they got paid and that’s how shows like Fear Factor get made.

And that’s why prostitutes have jobs.

The point is people don’t need a relationship to be happy. So why can’t the world just let me be single and fine with it?

I believe in love. I do. And it changes people. It makes you see every day differently. So does cocaine. And like cocaine, you want everyone else to try it too. That’s why junkies are always friends.

I appreciate that my friends want me to have what they have. I do too.

But I want it at my own time.

I promise that if there’s someone I’m meant to be with, God will help me find him. Because really, he’s the ultimate wingman.

To that end, let’s just be patient.

Let your friends be single. Some weird Frenchman will come and yell “Sacrebleu!” and grab the smelly cheese because they alone appreciate it. There’s someone for everyone.

Even stinky cheeses. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dream a Little Dream of Me

I was talking about Facebook friends today, and a friend commented that someone had a lot of them. I was thinking about my list of friends, and if I really am “friends” with so many of them.

I’ve been pretty blessed so far in my life with experience. I have plenty of circles. High school friends. Youth group friends. Hospital friends. 3 summers of camp friends. Job friends. College friends. Disney friends. All people that come and go in your life. All people that show up on your Facebook. People that you like thinking about.

But what controls your thoughts? The most honest time of the day is when you lay your head down and you reflect. First your day, and if you’re a dreamer like me, usually to your life. Is it everything that you wanted it to be?

Facebook is an excellent tool to let someone know that you’re thinking about them. It connects old friends and helps foster new ones. But it’s those relationships that you think about late at night, ones that don’t necessarily make their way onto the web that I find most intriguing. What relationships are so prominent that when you think you’ve long forgotten them, your brain still has their pathways?

My brain goes to people I have long thought I had left. Sometimes a lecture will make me think of a camper I had. One whose face is clear, but name is foggy. A camper who may have not really garnered much of my attention that week. But something about a homeless Dickens orphan will remind me of them. What did my subconscious catch that my over-alert counselor brain missed?

Most recently, an assignment for an education class made me think back to high school. What it was like to be one of three thousand. Does anyone really remember me?

I used to think it was safe to assume not. But in one well placed Episode of the Facts of Life and a jockey, hockey-playing husband to Tootie’s aunt brings me back instantly to a giddy schoolgirl crush on a scissor-kicking, lacrosse-playing gym teacher my last semester of high school. Who would guess he’s who I’m thinking about tonight? I can tell you he doesn’t remember me.

 But I remember him.

We make impressions on people. They may seem like impressions in wet grass, sure that if we looked back, they had filled in with new soil, proving that we never really were there to begin with.

But once in a while, the wind comes, and hardens you there, and it isn’t until someone trips over it and gets jolted that they remember you.

It’s safe to say that someone is thinking about right now. It could be someone as normal as your mother, wondering what else they could possible riddle you with long after they should be in bed. It might be your roommate, wondering why you’re taking so long in the bathroom.

But sometimes, it’s someone you may not remember. Someone that sat in the back of the classroom, waiting for you to walk by them every day, just hoping you’d look at them. But you never did.

 Maybe it was someone you saw drop their books one time, and you can’t get their image out of your head.

Maybe it’s the same person you’re thinking of.

I wonder who’s thinking of me tonight.