Another Week of Thoughts

Tuesday, May 21

I’m on a real Celine Dion kick today. During “Power of Love,” I thought about how funny it would be if, during a one-night stand, I suddenly started screaming, “‘Cause I’m your laaaaddyyy!” Worth terrorizing a poor fellow over this bit?

Maybe. But I’ve never been into one-night stands.

Wednesday, May 22

I’m laying in bed. A weird clicking noise is keeping me awake. It sounds like it’s coming from inside my nose. Is the pressure changing? Is a storm coming? Am I the canary in the coal mine?

It’s the ceiling fan.

Thursday, May 23

Grace and I won the Writer’s Block competition. Afterward, we kept telling people we didn’t deserve it, that the other team’s sketch was actually better, and that we just won because we had more friends there.

The next day, we realized, fuck that. We deserved it.

Saturday, May 25

A cat bit me today. I put rubbing alcohol on it for a quick disinfect. I wondered why it’s called rubbing alcohol, so I read the directions. Apparently, people use it for massages. Heathens.

The cat bit me while I was dictating notes for the visit. It’s one of my favorite things that’s ever happened:

IMG_9445

Monday, May 27

I’m never drinking again.

Tuesday, May 28

I had a dream last night that a giant red sea creature was trying to kill me by kneeing me in the back with its enormous red balls.

Wednesday, May 29

Went to the CBD store to buy my first bag of gummies.

Have you heard? I’m off alcohol.

I felt wholly unworthy of being in the store, and immediately word vomited on the clerk so I could get out as soon as possible. His voice sounded like his sinuses were at complete capacity. 

I am the canary in the coal mine.

Thursday, May 30

Today is one of those days I am sad for no apparent reason.

Couldn’t sleep, so I started a new book. Something was throwing me off, like I couldn’t quite pay attention to what I was actually reading. A few pages in, I realized what it was: my inner narrator was shouting every word in an old Hollywood accent. 

And here I thought the weed hadn’t kicked in.

Friday, May 31

My mom and I are going to Connecticut today. I’ve been telling everyone we’re going to New Jersey, because I thought we were going to New Jersey.

We are not going to New Jersey.

Our flight from Philly to New Haven was a very tiny plane. When we walked on, I got a glimpse of the cockpit. The co-pilot was looking at Instagram. His index finger was hovering over a picture of a model in an open suit jacket and not much else. I assume he was debating whether or not to double tap. I can’t decide if I appreciate his thoughtfulness, or am terrified of his inability to make quick decisions.

Saturday, June 1

Mom and I are having a retreat in Connecticut. I know where we are now because my mom drew me a map on her napkin at dinner. 

We’ve been kayaking, reading, writing, eating, drinking and talking. I saw snails having sex. When I told my mom, she said had a video she wants to show me.

We watched Moonlight before bed.

I do not think this is the video she meant.

Sunday, June 2

Mom and I took the train to go see Mean Girls on Broadway. I always thought Broadway was a theater. It is a street.

The show was awesome. It’s true, I’m a sucker for musicals. But My Lord and Savior Andrew Lloyd Webber had nothing to do with this show, and still, I was smitten.

On the train back, a passenger next to us popped a bottle of champagne. The cork hit a girl in the head. She’s okay; they gave her a glass for her troubles.

Monday, June 3

My last full day in Connecticut, and I still have no idea how to spell Connecticut. 

The water was too rough to kayak. Do sea gulls ever get sea sick?

Met family I’d never met before. It’s a shame I’m just now meeting them. My mom made dinner and I poured drinks. This is the role I will always assume. 

After dinner, we sat outside and watched the tide come in. I climbed down on the rocks and examined all the nooks and crannies the low tide had left exposed. Lots of snails looking to get laid. 

Tuesday, June 4

On my flight from New Haven to Philadelphia. I opened my pack of Wet Wipes to prepare my hands for snack time. I felt bad about the strong floral smell, until the woman next to me pulled a hard boiled egg out of Target bag.

Had to hurry to the bathroom between flights. I was in a rush, so I left my backpack on while I peed. It was probably one of the most freeing experiences I’ve had in a while. I saved so much time! How have I never thought to do this before?!

 

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A Week of Thoughts

Last week, I challenged myself to write at least once per day. Something I thought, something I did, etc. The goal is to keep me writing, even when I’m not feeling inspired. And also to put less pressure on myself to turn every little thought into something “perfect.” For that reason, these are *mostly* unedited.

Game of Thrones spoilers below, btw.

Friday, May 10

There was a very pregnant woman in my yoga/barre class today. I couldn’t stop thinking about what would happen if she went into labor. We’d probably get to leave, which I wouldn’t hate. Would I know how to help?

Sometimes, when I’m walking the dogs, I’ll quiz myself: “If you’re stabbed here, where would the tourniquet go?” The answer is always above the wound (I think?) but I like to be prepared. I don’t know why I’m scared this will happen but I think about it a lot.

For this reason, I think I would offer the woman a tourniquet. Idk if it would go above or below her belly, though.

Saturday, May 11

I love making bartenders laugh.

This did not happen for me tonight.

Sunday, May 12

Up all night after Game of Thrones. I am mourning the loss of who I thought Daenerys would be written to be. How could this happen? Thank God Jorah wasn’t around to see this.

Monday, May 13

I’ve been listening to GoT recap podcasts all day. I feel a little better knowing some people liked the episode. I’m happy for them.

To me, the writing felt like a betrayal. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been paying attention. I knew Daenerys was likely headed this way. But they rushed it. And now, this incredibly complex, beloved (and, yes, flawed) character has been watered down to Scorned Woman #1.

I stopped listening to recaps after one dude said Dany went mad because she didn’t get “that dick” from Jon. Typical woman!

Typical man to think “that dick” is worth it.

Tuesday, May 14

I walked by a middle school on my way to morning coffee. I couldn’t make eye contact with any of the kids because I was scared they’d make fun of me.

I wonder how much blood someone from the Middle Ages would lose if they flossed for the first time.

James turns four tomorrow. His kennel name was Arthur. I hate the name Arthur because it reminds me of Arthur the Aardvark, which reminds me of the flu because I had the flu one time when I watched an episode.

I have the same issue with scallops.

Wednesday, May 15

I went to the pet store to get James a special pâté cake. I spent too long in the cat food aisle trying to decide between beef, chicken or fish. Beef seemed off-brand. Chicken seemed safe, until I remembered an episode of Below Deck where a very drunk rich woman was offended at being served chicken on a yacht. This was the first time I’d heard of chicken having a bad rap with the rich.

In the end, I settled on surf and turf. We’re middle class.

Thursday, May 16

In yoga, I always want to peek to see who doesn’t want hands-on adjustments.

Sometimes, I purposely look like I’m struggling so they’ll come over and touch me.

Friday, May 17

Watched Drew perform with the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus tonight. It gave me chills. I am so proud of him. It felt good to support him, especially since he’s been so supportive my comedy shows.

Had an asthma attack/allergic reaction to something at the bar afterwards so had to leave.

How supportive.

Saturday, May 18

Someone asked me out tonight. It caught me off-guard and I said, “No, I’m sorry. I don’t date.”

I don’t feel good about it.

Sunday, May 19

Minutes after finishing GoT: Heartbroken. Relieved. Resigned. Everyone’s going to die from breathing in that ash, anyway. 

I refuse to say more than that. The hurt is too raw right now.

RIP GoT.

 

Sour Beers and Tarot Cards

One week into 2019, I had a tarot card reading at a brewery. This was a first for me. As a Hufflepuff, I tend to avoid The Dark Arts. And as an anxiety-ridden soul, I tend to avoid things I can latch onto as proof of my imminent death. (Web MD is among The Forbidden, as are thrillers about germ warfare and, for whatever reason, Gone Girl.)

However, while at the bar, a friend approached me with an interesting proposal: a tarot card reading for the mere price of a sour beer. Her friend needed practice—and a drink—and was willing to do some readings. I was nervous, but intrigued.

“Have you ever had a reading before?” she asked.

I hadn’t. But as a child, I’d been scarred by Muppet Treasure Island and the possibility of picking up something with The Black Spot.

muppet treasure island

Muppet Treasure Island’s “Black Spot.” The stuff of nightmares.

“It won’t be like that,” she said.

So I agreed.

I sat down, still unnerved. I waited for her to ask me about my life, to dish details that she would later reposition as revelations. But she did not. Instead, she asked me to shuffle the deck and think. Think about a problem I was having, something I was wondering or trying to work through. Several thoughts crossed my mind. “Am I on the right track here in Chicago? Which theater should I try next? What’s up with me and dudes?”

I cut the deck and placed it in three piles representing the past, present and future. The stacks were by no means neat; my dry little witch hands had failed to tuck them into three tidy piles. This, she explained, meant something.

She suggested I pull the cards that jutted out the most. These were the cards with something to reveal.

The first card I pulled was The Kindred, a card that represents home and welcome, but it was upside down. This, she said, could mean I haven’t yet completed the step before The Kindred. That I haven’t allowed my roots to sprout because I’m still waiting for some feeling of assurance.

This resonated with me. I don’t feel like I’ve really “dug in” to the whole comedy scene because I’m not sure where I fit in. Do I want to do improv? Or write? Or both? And where? And what if I fail? I haven’t allowed myself to fully commit to anything because I’m afraid I won’t belong.

The second card, representing the present, was Two of Knives, also upside down. Knives are useful tools, she said. But when the card is reversed, it means I’m harming myself in some way. That I might be beating myself up over a decision, or an indecision.

“Girl, you think too much,” she said. “Get out of your head.”

Noted.

She also asked me to think about what I might be aggressively avoiding (the flu), if I’m in a rut (perhaps) and how I can fix it.

My future card was The World, which I immediately took to mean I was a warlock.

voldy

Actual image of me after drawing The World. Where my horcruxes at?

But it wasn’t what I thought.

It did not, in fact, point to my future world domination. Rather, it could mean that I feel like I’m back where I started. (Which is true, since I just finished iO classes.)

The fact that it appeared upside means that I haven’t yet completed the previous phase, The Awakening. That I need to look at myself and my gifts, learn to appreciate them, and learn to let go of past lives, relationships, insecurities, etc.

The last card we drew was my favorite. It was The Traveler of Knives, and it was the only card right-side up.

This, she said, was basically telling me to say, “Fuck it.” To get out of my head and follow what I feel is right—not to the detriment of others—but in a way that will allow me to carve my own unique path. It reminded me of some advice one of my favorite improv teachers gave me: “If you feel it, do it.”

In the end, I left this reading feeling really good. It reminded me of a therapy session: the practice of picking a specific thought, and dedicating some time to work through it, to consider it from all angles. (Side note: tarot readings would be a great way to sneak in some therapy for someone who “doesn’t believe in therapy.”)

Would I do it again? Yes.

Would I pay more than a sour beer? Probably not.

Will I, from this day forward, refer to myself as The Warlock Who Drew The World? Absolutely.

Reflections

In an effort to journal more often, I decided to write down a few things I did, learned and realized in 2018. These are in no particular order.

Things I did in 2018:

Traveled abroad for the first time as an adult.

Went to Hogwarts with my mom and sister.

Graduated from iO’s improv program.

Became a Godmother.

Ate a rancid pistachio.

Watched some of my best friends get married.

Started a writing project with people I’m really excited to work with.

Gave a dog the Heimlich.

Joined an indie improv group.

Wrote for two sketch shows.

Almost finished Anna Karenina.

Turned 30.

Got a face cyst.

Went to summer camp.

Had an international romance.

Saw John Legend, Beyonce, Jay Z, and Chance The Rapper live.

Went to Qdoba with The Phantom of the Opera.

Met a Bravo! Housewife in real life.

Went on some dates.

Remained celibate.

Things I learned/realized in 2018:

Nothing from my wine classes except that I am unable to retain information from wine classes.

“We’ll be ready for these school boys; they will wet themselves with blood,” is the scariest lyric from Les Mis.

I whisper in my sleep.

The Salem witch trials were not in Salem, Oregon.

There is another Salem, and it is in Massachusetts.

I’m supposed to be paying my taxes quarterly.

I am lactose intolerant.

Prince Oberyn is in season 4 episode 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

If you give a dog a tablespoon (or teaspoon? I forget) of hydrogen peroxide, they will immediately vomit.

A lot of stuff about Irish whiskey. Ask me about it and I’ll steal an hour of your life.

I don’t think I like shrimp anymore.

The Spirit of Christmas

Warning: This post contains spoilers for “The Spirit of Christmas.”

A few nights ago, I treated myself and my cats to a sappy Christmas movie. “This will be fun,” I thought, as I snuggled into the couch with my wine and blue corn chips. I landed on The Spirit of Christmas, a TV movie undoubtedly born of a focus group for single 20-something females.

From Netflix: “As Christmas approaches, attorney Kate Jordan travels to Vermont to oversee the sale of an inn, where she falls for a handsome but cursed ghost.”

I of course had some immediate questions, but — damn, you Netflix! — the research was solid. Ghosts, old-timey inns, Christmas, how could I resist?!

So, I watched it. But within minutes, I began to lose my shit.

To be clear, I have many, many issues with this film and Kate and Daniel (the ghost)’s relationship. However, these are the few I wrote down:

1  He’s a fucking ghost.

2  Not only is he a fucking ghost, he’s a fucking ghost with baggage. He’s dead, he’s cursed, he regularly haunts an inn, he’s pining over his ex-girlfriend who ended up marrying his brother. Hard pass.

3  He’s a dated ghost. He died 90+ years ago, so odds are, he’s sexist, more than a little racist and definitely not vaccinated. How the f is this girl going to introduce him to her friends and family? If you thought your MAGA Uncle was bad at Thanksgiving, can you imagine bringing around a wealthy white dude from 1901?

4  He’s a dick! He has 12 days with this girl, and he spends the first 3-4 days berating her. At what point do they fall in love? At what point does she think, “Man, I know this dude is dead, and also kind of a dick, but I think this could work.”

5  Syphilis. He definitely has it.

6  They barely know each other, and yet he forgoes eternal life in heaven with his former lady-love to live – and die again! – with a chick he’s known for 12 days. Twelve days! That’s still the infatuation period! What if, two months in, the hormones wear off and they realize they’re completely incompatible? How is he going to jump back into the dating pool? How is he going to explain himself to another potential mate?

New girl: “How are you still single?”

Daniel: “Well, I died. But then I came back to life for this girl because we thought we could make it work. Turns out, we’re just too different. Plus, she’s registered to vote.”

7  Does he age? Or will he stay the same forever, watching Kate slowly deteriorate beyond the point of Hollywood likability?

8  Is he sterile? Are they going to have kids? I hope not, because, again, HE’S. NOT. VACCINATED.

9  Wait, did she just pass out from kissing him? Never in my life have I passed out/fallen asleep while kissing someone. During sex, sure, but while making out standing up? Impossible.

10  This is a more general issue with the film, but how come we never see sappy romances about young, single dudes who “work too hard” to settle down and find love? Why is it always women who are confronted about their work ethic? Idk, maybe we work hard so we can avoid SLEEPING WITH DEAD PEOPLE.

Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

Swiping Right Into Hell

I swiped left on a man because his Bumble picture was taken in a Joe’s Crab Shack.

It was at this moment I realized I might have a problem.

And that I might also be kind of a bitch.

It happened so quickly I barely had time to register what I was doing by the time it was done. My friend, Bumbling vicariously over my shoulder, yelled out, “No! Wait! It’s not Joe’s Crab Shack it’s Joe’s Steak House!” But it was too late. By the time she got to “crab,” my fingers were already flying across the screen to shield my eyes from the horrors therein.

I’m not proud of what I did, but it was instinctual. Visceral. My ovaries, folding in on themselves at the thought of mating with someone in an “I Got Crabs At Joe’s” shirt.

It wasn’t right, but it was real. And at the very least, it got me to ask some tough questions of myself, specifically: why do I hate every dude I meet?

Like any respectable, self-centered human, I of course blame my parents. My dad, presumably scared shitless at the prospect of raising two daughters, made certain my sister and I understood two very important lessons: 1.) Men are pigs, and 2.) Everything’s a rip off.

Could it be that his warnings worked so well, too well, that they guaranteed the end of House Clark?

I think it’s likely.

I think it’s also likely – perhaps more likely – that I am the problem. When presented with the opportunity to hand-pick a mate, I turn into the monster my father groomed me to be. That is to say, I rip men to shreds. I pick apart their profiles with reckless abandon, violently swiping away those who displays signs of romance (emojis) or outright insanity (“Ask me anything you want to know 😜”). Fishing photos, boating photos, baby photos, gym photos, and any sort of Jesus or CrossFit reference are also grounds for immediate and irrevocable elimination.

Ellipses are unforgivable. But the real tragedy is now I’ll never know what sort of guys I normally attract. 

Once I’ve whittled my matches down to a small – but elite – group of sea-fearing atheists, the real work begins.

First, I test the waters with a GIF. Dwight Schrute and Buster Bluth and are my baits of choice, as both say “I’m casual, I’m hip and I’m probably a little left-leaning.”

If he responds favorably (Impossible! I hate everyone!) I find something wrong with it. If he responds unfavorably, it supports my theory that dating is dumb and why am I even on here.

I am not a nice person on Bumble.

My friends think I sabotage myself in order to prove there’s no one out there for me. I think no one gets my humor (see exhibit below), and that men are time sucks.

(On the left, Rex, the sea lion. On the right, me questioning Rex’s mortality. It’s been months and I’ve yet to receive a response.) 

I get that a lot of this stems from insecurity. Make fun of yourself before anyone else can, reject people before they can reject you, blah, blah, blah. But, still. Why am I so unwilling to give someone a chance? Why am I terrified at actually liking someone and why, for the love of God, can I not get an update on Rex?!

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I’ve decided to start dating again. Which means I’ve decided to go on one date and call it a year.

I’ve been out of the game for quite some time, but I understand it still works relatively the same: you meet at a bar, you forget meeting at a bar, you wake up to a mysterious text from “R. Dumbledore Glasses,” you exchange witty messages for weeks on end until finally someone says, “Let’s just get this over with.” So you meet.

Romance may be alive and well. But I will not stand for it.

My prep for this date begins well in advance. I spend an hour trying to make my hair look effortless. Like I totally forgot about the date (because I’m so busy and important!) that when I remembered, I yanked out my ponytail, walked into the wind and let Jesus take the wheel. I do my makeup lightly. I want him to think I’m a natural beauty. That I don’t even care about makeup. That my big, dark eyebrows are such a hassle (“Ugh! Genetics!”) and not in fact an elaborate illusion.

I imagine what I’ll say when he compliments me.

“Stop, I’m a mess!”

But I’m not a mess. I’m a masterpiece.

Next, I call my roommate into my room for the dressing portion of the program. I have no idea what to wear. My black jeans feel too fancy, my boyfriend jeans no longer fit. I’m not mad about it; I’ve always wanted an ass that won’t quit. But not having these jeans really spoils my cool/casual idea.

“What’d you wear last time you saw him?” She asks

“My Slytherin shirt,” I respond.

She nods, and tells me to wear the black jeans, a cotton t-shirt and my leather jacket. I put them on and observe.

“I look like a little dick,” I say.

“No, you don’t,” she says. “But we need to give you a waistline.”

We then attempt to tuck my shirt into my jeans in a haphazard way. Like somehow, I raised my arms, and the front, left edge of my shirt made a miraculous leap into the waist of my jeans, falling **just so**.

15 minutes later, we nail it.

5 minutes later, I have to pee and we have to start all over.

When I’m finally deemed fit for public viewing, we head to the kitchen for shots of tequila. My roommates and I started this ritual my first month in Chicago when, against all odds, all three of us had a slew of dates lined up. Before each date, we all took a shot. None of the men stuck. But the tequila did.

I meet my date at the bar and am pleased with myself for recognizing his face. It’s been over two months since we met, and the last we saw each other, I was so drunk I admitted to being a Hufflepuff.

In spite of this, our conversation flows pretty comfortably. We reintroduce ourselves, talk about work, friends and relationships. He asks if I’m on Bumble.

“I don’t have time. Wait, that’s a lie. I could make time, I just don’t want to. Dating is such a waste of mental space, you know?”

I sip my drink.

“Why? Are you on Bumble?”

He is.

Later, we exchange of pick-up line horror stories. I tell him my favorite: the time a man offered to buy me a drink because I looked “vulnerable.”

“I hate it when men offer to buy me drinks. It’s like, ‘Go away! I don’t want to talk to you!'”

We sit in silence for a moment.

“You know I’m going to buy your beers, right?”

“Yeah. Sorry. My bad.”

I sip my drink.

At the end of the date, he asks if I had a good time.

“Honestly, I can’t tell,” he says.

This shocks me. And it is at this point I realize I spent the entire date shitting on romance. I was the dating equivalent of a bad interviewer. Had our conversation actually been a job interview, it would have gone something like this:

“So, what interests you about this job?”

“Nothing really. I don’t even want to work.”

No wonder this man thinks I’m an asshole.

But I’m not an asshole. I just don’t know what I want, and, apparently, that reads loud and clear. I don’t want a boyfriend, but I enjoy the attention of men. I enjoy the attention of men, but I hate the power this gives them. This imbalance of power is a constant struggle in my life. I let everyone else dictate how I feel about myself. So when I say I don’t want to “waste the mental space on dating,” I mean I don’t want to waste time working through the self-loathing that inevitably follows.

Or as I prefer to put it, I’m just too damn busy and important!