Thursday, May 21, 2015


I know I said I was going to tell you the story of the gang. I know I did. But it's been a hot minute (or four months), and I'm just going to have to save that one for later. Never set up expectations for yourself if you know that doing so will keep you from meeting your own expectations.

So let's just jump back in.

Let me share real quick a pet peeve of mine: that it is a common idea that one must be pure to be beautiful. 

I look at myself and then I look at my daughter and my first thought after, "Holy crap, she is so beautiful" is, "Holy crap, she's my daughter. She is going to make so many mistakes." 

The girl is a normal preschooler, she throws tantrums, she does gross stuff, she lies sometimes, she named her betta fish "Numb Nuts". The usual. But she's yet to yell curse words at me, or get a DUI, or drop out of school, have sex on tape (or, you know, at all. She's four, guys.). You get the idea. She has not gotten any big nasty scars (visible or otherwise) from her misdeeds. Not yet. 

But she might. She might really get into some trouble one day that would, from the standpoint of the societal norm, render her "impure". In fact, from some angles of opinion, she could live what I would consider an exemplary existence and still be treated like she's useless because she isn't the age or shape or gender that people think she ought to be. We have got to remember that this, while unfortunate in some ways, can also only add to a persons strength and beauty (assuming they survive).

I feel impure on a regular basis. A big part of that feeling definitely stems from my Christian upbringing, but it's also just a generally accepted idea that once you've done this thing or that thing, you're all worn out. Trouble with the law? Unwed surprise pregnancy? Long list of previous sex partners? You're fucking threadbare. My fat and my face scars and my stretch marks make me feel like used garbage. Why? Are these not badges of a life lived, of struggles survived?

When my mom looks at impure me, I hope that she sees a woman growing stronger and more savvy by the day. I hope that she sees the beauty in that. And I hope that I will be able to offer that to my daughter as she grows into an adult, as well.

I'd like to round this out with the idea that while there is no cause to put any woman on a pedestal, we should probably be kinder to our daughters. We should be kinder to our sons. We should be kinder to other people's daughters and sons. I'm challenging myself to try to remember that my standards of beauty should not necessarily orbit the pure, but the wise instead.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Story of The Gang: A Preface

I have a small theory that all of us have great ideas all of the time. I recently read about a study pertaining to those fantastic, brilliant ideas that come to us right before we go to sleep. You know, the ones about useful and marketable inventions, or really cool novel plots. The ideas that make you think, "Man, I have GOT to write that down!" But then you don't. Because you're tired. So you exert an unnecessary amount of anxious energy to remember that particular thought, robbing yourself of sleep in the process, only to end up completely forgetting about it during the night. 

Anyway. The study I read suggested that all of those ideas were actually garbage (which I suspect is just a ploy to positively influence the sleep habits of America). I disagree with the study. I do think that some of those ideas are cliche non-starters (What if none of us see red as the same color? What about an app for keeping track of how many BBQ sandwiches I eat in a year?), but I also believe that immediate dismissal of all seemingly questionable ideas is a great way to completely stunt your own progress.

So part of my resolution to write this blog was to also write down every blog topic idea that springs to my mind, instead of just rolling over in bed and giving myself a panic attack. And so far it's been great. I've had a lot of ideas, and picking which one I want to write about in the free moment is making my process of mental organization fun.

But I will tell you, some of these topics are also going to make me look ridiculous.  For example, here are some of the more unnerving gems pulled straight from the notes app on my phone:

-I am not a happy woman unless I can cook in my own kitchen

-Mean and gross (drinking too much and smoking cigarettes on the toilet: a memoir) 

-I am a charming liar (bar talk) (not to be confused with Bartok of the animated Anastasia movie fame)

-The anonymous story of that time I broke a guys penis (but he was okay don't worry)

-I am blissfully unaware of the pimples on my own back (please do not pop them without my permission: ode to an ex-girlfriend)

-The story of that time I joined a gang and collected a bunch of goose feathers at a park (why ICP and girly liqueurs are terrible)

This is what I'm thinking about. It's not always what I'm thinking about, but it's certainly a part of my thought process, and at least a few of these topics are going to make it into my blog. Honesty, people. It's what keeps the earth spinning.

This post is basically a preface. I think the next time I write it will be to tell the story of The Gang. This fact ought to work marvelously as a filter for some of you, and hopefully keep a few of you coming back for more.

Cheers, and may you fall asleep with plenty of cool thoughts to forget!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Everything I Ever Wanted.

Here goes: another New Years related post.

I have a lot of lovely people in my life, and I spend a lot of time analyzing my interactions with them. I'd say that I spend a lot of time in my own head, but if you know me, you wouldn't believe that for a second because I am flagrant in my efforts to interact with everyone and anyone at all times, often without thinking anything through beforehand. Maybe I'm "inside-out of my head" a lot? No. That sounds like stoner-talk.

The thing I've been over-analyzing most lately is when a friend tells me that they wish for me to have everything I ever wanted, i.e. "May the new year bring you everything you've ever desired!"  And I know that's just fancy over-exaggeration talk for "Happy New Year! I want to say something else that is nice, also!" Kind of like how us basic bitches can use the term "literally" superfluously. I don't mind that my friends want to type or say a few extra nonsense words in order to make me feel loved, quite the contrary. But still, I overthink.

What if I woke up tomorrow with everything I ever wanted? First off, there would be a fuck-ton of naked people in my bed. Awkward. I wanted them all there at one time or another but not necessarily all at once.

Also, I'd have a lot of barbies and dolls in general. Like, you'd walk into my cribs-style mansion (that I would also now have), and there'd be a lot of dolls emptily staring at you, silently scream-whispering, "THIS IS THE RAP-STAR-WORTHY HOME OF A CRAZY PERSON. WE WILL PROCEED TO EAT YOUR HEART." I'd eat nothing but mac and cheese. I would lay in my bed drunk and watching Flava of Love all day. I'd be the world's Best Christian, and also be high on pills 24/7. I'd be a bassist with a ton of Modcloth dresses. I would be in the body of so many celebrities and somehow also be dating these same people simultaneously. These are all things I have wanted at different points in my life.

I could go on and on but I'll get to the point: there are a lot of things I used to want that I absolutely do not want now. The things I feel as if I want within my heart of hearts may twinge at me for hours or years, but very few of them stick around for forever. They are replaced by new (and usually equally temporary) desires, fueled by whatever new knowledge and influences I gain over time.

I don't know if there is a shaven and bow-tied lesson to be learned here, at least not one that I agree with. I like wanting things. Wanting things fuels me and excites me. Wanting things also causes me enormous amounts of anxiety. 

I think what I'm trying to take away from this adorable over-analysis is that it is important to remember that most things are fleeting. Ideas, obsessions, even morals and ambitions aren't always all that important. How do we weed out the temporary from the solid? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Perhaps it is not as important to find oneself as it is to decide oneself. By that I mean, besides the outside influences that are beyond our control (death, accidents, childhood trauma, assault, surprise youtube-fueled fame, infertility, unexpected pregnancy, bullshit economics, etc), it makes perfect sense that we should be able to completely build the person that we are from any point forward. 

This is of course only true if we are aware of the deep truths surrounding us. If Jimmy wants to be a rapper, if rapping is the thing that brings him joy, then he should obviously rap. If Jimmy is aware that he is a good rapper (and has not just deluded himself into thinking that he is good instead of looking at the actual facts), then he should try to go pro. If he is not a good rapper, then maybe it is still a part of who he is, but... Maybe just rap on the weekends, Jimmy. Try professional gift wrapping Monday through Friday. It's a great job, and I would know.

How to find the deep truths of what I truly want? No idea. But I can tell you some things that I am good at, and from that list I can pick a handful of things that I also want. I don't need everything I have ever wanted. The things at the center of this particular Venn diagram will be enough for me. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Under Pressure

It's the end of the year, and I imagine I'm not alone in feeling all of 2014 plastered onto me like an unwelcome pie to the face (Is there such a thing as a welcome pie to the face? Please advise.). It's weighing me down, man. I'm trolling through Facebook and I'm seeing the customary New Years resolutions and pithy saccharine odes to the past year, filled with baby pictures and dogs. I'm seeing posts of Buzzfeeds "Top Ten Worst Political Moves of 2014 that Corresponded with Tumbler Pizza Roll Recipes". I sound snarky but I'm not going to go on a diatribe about this world in which I so willingly participate. Despite my aggravated tone, I'm not here to get all meta.

Honesty: I'm aggravated because this is a tough day of the year for me. Actually, not just this year- I would venture to say that it's been tough annually since I entered young adulthood. It was only eight years ago that I crossed over, and I'm aware that speaking with such a minute amount of adult life under my belt can only lead to a laughable series of statements that cry out for a shit-truck load of snarky judgement. But I'm choosing to humor myself here, pretend I'll be the only person reading (which very well might be the case!), and power through. My ex-husband keeps telling me that I need to write and also that I should start working out, and I can't disappoint him completely. Full disclosure: I will probably continue my long-standing tradition of not working out.

When did New Years and birthdays stop being fun and become only reminders of the bad things I've done, what I have yet to accomplish, the things I'm ashamed of leaving unfinished? When I was a kid New Years was about staying up late with my sister watching the Disney channel and sparkling grape juice. Birthdays were about cake, for chrissakes. A whole holiday centered around a cake. Now both events are about drinking. In fact, I would venture to say that every adult holiday is about drinking and Instagram. If you have a kid, which I do, the Instagramming becomes more obligatory and the drinking... can occasionally become more necessary.

End this insufferable hate spiral! Here is my plan for the year: Write a blog. It doesn't have to be good and it doesn't have to be every day. This blog isn't focused and it isn't very good, but I'm not very focused. I don't know if I'm good, either, but that's so subjective. So I'll let you decide (as if I had control over that- you've already made some sort of decision about me and in case you were wondering, I'm moderately-to-mostly cool with that.).

There are a lot of great tutorial blogs and mommy blogs and cooking blogs out there. To quote Tina Fey in her brilliant book, Bossypants, "Here, we are out of luck." But if absolutely nothing else, this masturbatory little blog might help pull me out of a rut. It could help me push through some major writers block and slough off some bad habits. It should chronicle some personal and family developments, some scattered joy, some soft feminist rants, and if the past years have been any indication, some solid tragedy. I could do this or I could do nothing. I say this every year, but I really don't want to face next year feeling the way that I do now. 

I could end there, but how dark and self-indulgent would that be? Second full disclosure: there are a lot of things I love about my life. I have a beautiful three year-old daughter. I am safe and warm and sheltered and fed. My relationship with my family is better than ever, across the board. I have some friendships that are developing at different levels, but I would say that most are comparable to jello that has been in the fridge for at least three hours. These are all things that I have faced previous new years without, and I'm grateful. I survived an accident this year that could have easily killed me. I am supposed to be alive. I am meant for a purpose. Again, that's subjective, but I really believe it to be true. 

My dad calls me "Liz the Cat." He calls me this because I am always met with these crazy, life-altering scrapes and somehow, I always land on my feet. He thinks it's pure luck. I prefer to think of it as a lack of thought and care in my everyday life, followed by quick-thinking and efficient emergency action. Regardless of the reason why I am able to always pull through, the fact remains that somehow, I keep making it. I will live to claw up your furniture another day! I will chase all the mice. I will keep trying. That is a promise I can make.