Redefining “Social Media”

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest… the list goes on and on. The way we interact today is completely different than ten years ago… oh, Jesus, I’m getting old. Okay, let’s make that 15 years ago. Though the media through which we connect is ever changing, and puking our personal lives right into each other’s laps, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Unfortunately, there are some awful trends that have come about, and I am here to tell you to cut the shit. We still have to coexist, we still have to be decent people, and we still have to be responsible people. Ready? Here is a list of things humanity needs you to address ASAP:

1. Use a little discretion when posting photos– Dear Lord in Heaven above, please. I know it’s fun to be edgy and naughty. It’s my MO. Slut it up by all means, but don’t post pictures of you making out with your best friend with a bottle of Jager in your hand and one tit out. On a Wednesday. Live your life, girl. Party it up. But the internet SERIOUSLY is forever. Even if your profile is private, we can still find these pictures. It seems cool now, but when you’re 24 and your CEO calls you to tell you to take down pictures from your page you forgot existed from dark nights past, it won’t seem so awesome. It’s an awkward phone call, and it actually happened to, um, someone I know. Coughmecough.

2. Like pages and pictures with caution – I get that you want to see pictures of women in their panties on top of sports cars. There is no judgement there. But remember that your entire friend list just got a blurb in their newsfeed that you like “Slutty Teen MILFS in Bathtubs” or “Nasty Whores Doing Nasty Chores.” It’s weird for everyone, Uncle Jerry. Additionally, that hilarious meme or quote you just liked came from a page called “I Am a Silly Butt Pirate.” If you don’t want people thinking you sail the seven seas of anus, double check where the photo came from.

3. Google before you post – A good 67% of my time online is spent disproving ridiculous stories that my wonderful, yet gullible, friends and family repost. I am not a super genius, just your run-of-the-mill genius, but it doesn’t take one to spot the signs of a false article. Your first warning sign is that it didn’t come from a reputable, AP-backed news source. Sometimes you can google the headline and the story will come up on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, whatever your biased media outlet of choice may be, and then you’re free to post. However, if all your articles come from PatriotMericaJernal.com, chances are the article is slightly more false than true. Not everything you read is real. Other warning signs include: no author listed on the article, overly descriptive or impassioned language (although, our local news is lately guilty of this as they hire more 20 year olds to write online articles and run social media), and lack of sources or references by facts and figures. If an article sounds outrageous or ridiculous, it probably is just that. No, McDonald’s does not serve human meat, and that little crying white girl was not being sold as a wife to a terrorist. Google. Just google. It’s so easy. I love you, seriously, but I will call you out.

4. Keep it private – I hesitate to post this one, because my life is SUPER boring, and God knows I derive untold and unhealthy amounts of pleasure from reading your highly personal life drama on Facebook. However, I am just your acquaintance, but now I know a whole lot about your baby-mama-drama. And, oh look at that, you’ve changed your relationship status BACK to “In a Relationship” for the 3rd time this week. This is the social media version of that guy on COPS covered in blood in a wife beater, screaming, “I luv yew, Jinny! I didn’t mean ter hit ya!” and she’s crying in the doorway of her single-wide screaming that Rufus is a no-good cheater, with a baby bawling on her hip. Guys, we know Jinny and Rufus are getting back together as soon as he posts bail, but there’s a reason Facebook doesn’t have a “Toxic and Dysfunctional” option. It just goes without saying, and you’re saying it way more than is necessary. I can only type the words, “You guys should probably stay broken up,” so many times in a month. Just keep it private. Talk in real life. Seek counseling. UNLESS your sig ot is a cheater-pumpkin-eater or abusive and you’ve broken free, then you’d better put them on blast. This is more equivalent to the scarlet letter, and public shame is required.

5. Don’t be a troll – For those of you who are not familiar with trolling, it is the act of commenting or posting for the sole reason of getting a reaction out of people. I can’t understand why someone would do this. It baffles me, seriously, and is like that kid on the playground that said you had ugly teeth just to watch you cry. They don’t really think you have ugly teeth, but they have something broken in their brains that causes them to seek attention through negativity. Look, gross dude in his mom’s basement covered in cheetos and self-loathing, get some therapy. Unfortunately, the interwebs serves the same function as a KKK hood. You’re filled with hate, but you’re kind of a bitch, so you bully people behind a mask to dodge any consequences. You’re a sad person, the scum of the internet, and I pity you. But you know this, and that is why you continue. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by you seeking therapy… That got a little deeper than I intended, but that’s the reality of it.

The other side of trolling are those that feed into the BS these losers are posting. Don’t give them the power! Don’t react! It’s what we all learned in middle school about bullies, and we have all somehow forgotten. Just ignore the sad people, and they will feel lame and go away. Or, as I like to do, troll them back by playing into their game. Beat them at it. It’s so much more fun that way.

6. If you don’t have anything nice to say – I’ve never bee particularly fond of this adage, because sometimes the truth needs to be told, and it isn’t always nice. So if you don’t have anything nice to say, and you’ve determined there is a true need for you to say this not-nice thing, who am I to stop you? By all means, blast away, BUT do not think that you are somehow free from any sort of social consequences. If you hate your job, your boss, your mother-in-law, and you post about it, you do not get to say things like, “This is my private page!” or, “OMG you take Facebook way too seriously.” Communication has changed, and social media is very real. If you’re going to say it in the virtual world, be prepared to face actual consequences. Your boss will find out you think his neck looks like female anatomy, or that you spit in someone’s curly fries. The internet is never a private forum. Sound off, vent, get angry, but think twice before you post. I say this from actual experience. And while I still mean EVERY word I posted about a certain institution, the harsh reality is that I suffered far greater consequences through my angry (but true, for the record) status than I imagined.

This is a pretty hefty list to get you started. Clean up your Facebook front yard. Hide your crazy. Use discretion and Google. Put down the joint, and for goodness sake, put your nipples back in your shirt! Happy posting!

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions

Redefining: Wedding Guest

As many of my loyal followers (read: my mother) might know, I was recently asked to marry this really good-looking man while at a James Taylor concert. I said yes, mainly because of his sexy arms, but also because I love him. That was on August 5th, so naturally by August 6th I was planning the wedding.

I’ve been imagining this day for over 25 years, and thanks to Pinterest, I had gotten a pretty good jump on things way earlier in our relationship than I’d like to admit. You guys, planning a wedding is so much more than Pinterest, and the hardest part, the part that I have put off for 3 months and will continue to put off, is the guest list. I did try. I started to write my mom’s side down, got through everyone, realized I had to leave off my uncle and grandparents (because they’re dead), and burst into tears. That was the end of that. But the guest list is SO important. It dictates everything from what venue you choose to the entire budget for the wedding. I had to cap it at 150. But here is the deal and the reason for this post: If you have been invited to a wedding, you are an elite member in someone’s life. You’ve got to follow some guest etiquette, and I’m about to lay it down.

rsvp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSVP For Real
Check the damn box and send it in. Hell, send me a text. I don’t care, but I have to give a headcount one month before my wedding to know how much food to order from the caterer. If you don’t RSVP and show up, I’ll kill you, and now I’ll get charged extra for the plate I did not report. If you RSVP and do not show up, I’ll still kill you, because catering is priced per head, ranging from 25 to 100 dollars, and I don’t get my money back for plates that weren’t sent out. If I think you are important enough to spend about $35 dollars just to have you attend my wedding, show me some love in return. Just respond, and then commit to that response. And don’t make me track you down for an answer.

Unless It’s On The Invite, No Plus Ones
I get that you don’t want to go to a wedding alone where you might not know a lot of people. Do not assume you get to bring a +1. How this became the norm is beyond me. If just 10 people of my 150 were to bring an unexpected +1, that is an extra 350 dollars tacked onto my bill. I’ve had to not invite people I actually know and like for budget reasons, and your stranger date is a slap in the face to them. Don’t ask, don’t do it. The same goes for kids. Unless the invite says, “and family,” or lists everyone’s names, don’t bring your kids. We love you, and want you to celebrate with us, so take a shot, grab a bridesmaid or one of our cousins and make a friend.

Alright, Uncle Lou. Please stop molesting the maid of honor.

Alright, Uncle Lou. Please stop molesting the maid of honor.

 

Ease Up On the Drinks
Thankfully, I have a lot of control at my venue with how much alcohol can be served, because I have to buy it all and bring it the day before. But listen, if I spend $20k on my wedding and your drunk ass creates drama in any way (puking your guts out, giving a horrible speech, showing your tits, offending one of my friends or family members, etc), I don’t care how far we go back, I will have you murdered publicly. Have some decency, and don’t get blindly drunk at a wedding. That is not classy, and it’s seriously rude. If you can’t have a good time without being wasted, and no one one loves you enough to tell you this, here I am for you: You are an alcoholic. Please go take 12 steps before you ruin your life. Seriously. Because if you ruin my wedding, I will ruin your face with a Chiavari chair. Have a couple drinks, get loose on the dance floor, and keep your shirt on.

 

Don’t Hog the Bride/Don’t Overstep

I know you love me, and I wish I could be in 30 places at once, but I can’t. This fact alone is enough to stress me out, because I want everyone to know how special they are to me, and how grateful I am that they came to my event. Just try to remember that I have to talk to every single person here, so don’t wrap me up in a 30 minute conversation. Under this same topic, there are certain areas that are reserved for JUST the wedding party. Don’t feel insulted because I didn’t have you there while I got ready. I love to be the center of attention, and would totally be fine with 100 attendants seeing to all my needs. However, with the 7 girls in my wedding, my future hubby’s sister, mother, and grandmother, the hair dresser, the make up person, the coordinator, and the photographer, there just isn’t room. It isn’t personal.

Save Your Negative Banter
I spent a lot of money to put on an amazing party for our friends and family. It will absolutely devastate me to hear that someone had an issue with something I picked out, that my dress wasn’t the right fit, that the ceremony was too long, and you didn’t like to food. Shut your effing face. When I leave for the night, feel free to trash the whole thing with your friends and go on and on about what you would have done differently, but that’s just it. It’s our night, not yours. I will be crushed, and I will hate you. Slap a smile on your face, and shove some cake in your mouth, and pretend like it’s the best wedding you’ve ever attended.

Did I Mention The Importance of the RSVP?
Seriously. It’s that important.

There are way more ways to be a great wedding guest, but the main thing to remember is that this is a time to celebrate the joining of people you love. Be supportive, have a good time, and be on your best behavior. You wouldn’t want to be the negative point a bride will remember about what was supposed to be the most magical night of her life. Today we redefine “wedding guest” from being a person who drinks too much, complains too much, and is just too much to deal with, to someone who is respectful, delightful, and aids in creating beautiful memories to last a lifetime. Or else.

Any other suggestions? Think I’m wrong for any of this? Let me know in a comment!

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions

Redefining “Workout Buddy”

KITTYYYYY

KITTYYYYY

Let’s start this blog post out with the one important fact: I am not a fitness expert. Oh no, if you have come here to find out how to whip your butt into shape, you will be sorely disappointed. I am, however, a practicing expert in awkwardness. I take awkward to a level you’ve only seen in your worst nightmares. Because I have been perfecting this art for so many years, I am also excellent at assessing the risk for awkwardness in any given situation, and reducing that risk. This doesn’t mean adapting or conforming, and it doesn’t mean pretending to be something I am not. It means BLENDING IN… being inconspicuous, finding the middle of the spectrum. Where is the place that has the highest level of potential awkward for me? The gym.

I am not skinny. And I love food. Like calorie-laden, terribly made, full of chemicals and additives, crap food. It’s delicious. However, as I approach 30 at a frightening pace, my body has started rebelling. It is not because I hate my body that I go to the gym, but because I love it and would like to keep it a little longer than I might if left in its current state. Therefore, for the 100th time in my life, I got a gym membership. This brings me to the first tip for reducing awkwardness at the gym:

1. Visit a gym before joining. Meet the trainers, the staff, figure out where everything is and what their policies are for use. This reduces aimless wandering, addressed later, and if you DO forget a rule, someone is going to remind you, and that is embarrassing. Pick a gym whose people make you feel comfortable. If they’re looking down their noses, not very friendly or helpful, and all the people working out could possibly have walked off the page of a fitness magazine, don’t join. Seriously. You’ll refer to them as your motivation at first, but you’ll just end up crying over a sleeve of Thin Mints and fantasizing about one of these gazelles tripping over her own feet as she cranks her speed up to double your pace without breaking a sweat. (PS to the girl on the stair climber today that made it to 30 minutes, I hate you. I died after 3.)

2. Dress appropriately: DO NOT wear street clothes to the gym. Nothing screams “I am a fat fatty newb that will probably eat cake after my half-assed workout” louder than someone who wears street clothes to the gym. It is okay to look awful at the gym. Embrace that opportunity to wear almost-pajamas in public. On that note, pajama pants are NOT workout clothes. My gym actually requires that you wear workout-appropriate clothing.

Equally as ridiculous and annoying is the person who is decked out from head to toe in obviously brand new work out gear that is all color coordinated to bright pink or purple or, God forbid,one of the colors commonly used in highlighter ink. You are trying to get noticed, and you are trying too hard. This is not a fashion show. And we know you don’t come here often. If your body is made like mine (terribly), get a bunch of black pants or leggings, and a few tank tops or t-shirts THAT FIT (neither too big nor too small), some comfortable shoes, and get your sweat on.

3. Bring water and a small towel, and maybe headphones: You NEED water when you work out. You are not a star athlete, so you don’t need some ridiculous sports drink. Additionally, make sure this water bottle is SPILL PROOF. Eff a regular plastic bottle. At some point the cap will be off, and you will kick it over or fumble it onto the floor trying to avoid death by elliptical-induced dehydration. This is the one I use: Contigo. A word of caution, every time I press the button to open the spout, it flicks water into my face. Hold away from face to avoid any snickers and/or dirty jokes.

If your gym has a tv attached to each machine like mine, bring headphones, because watching the tv on silent is both weird and frustrating. If you are a loud laugher, like me, try to avoid hilarious shows or people will stare as you collapse into giggles over The Colbert Report. I snort.

The towel is not too look like a bad ass when you drape it around your neck, or even to mop your sweaty boobs (though it does come in handy for that purpose). The towel is an awkwardness avoiding device. When you are using machines upon which you must sit, you lay this towel on the seat. People will just think you’re cleanly, but this is the real reason: Vagina Sweat. Yes, that is right, nothing is more awkward than standing up and leaving that shiny line of wetness that clearly did not come from just your butt, which would be embarrassing enough. I am so large (and Im really not that large) and working out makes my body so sad that my vagina cries bitter sweat-tears into the cushion of the resistance machines like a stood-up teen on prom night. It’s normal, but still gross. Throw a towel down on that seat, and cry it out Little Miss Hoo-Hoo and best friend, Booty-anne (That’s my butt’s name). Side note: my life is shameful…

4. Have a plan: The most ridiculous people at the gym are the aimless wanderers. They decide to go to the gym for an hour, and spend most of that time walking around, looking at the machines like they’re at JC Penney with their grandma on a Sunday afternoon. Get it together. There are  lot of fitness plans online. I like to do cardio, and then resistance machines. One day I do upper body, and the next day I do abs and legs. Do whatever floats your boat.

Here are  other things newbs/awkward people do at the gym

  • They do 5 to 10 minutes of Cardio – That is a waste of time. If you cannot last longer than this, slow down your pace or try the bike. This is not a race. If you can only do 5 to 10 minutes at a time, that is okay. Don’t pass out. But do more than 5 to 10 minutes total (If your doc is cool with it, that is).
  • They Stay at Level or Incline 0 – My pace isn’t very fast, but I am burning a lot more calories and getting a lot more benefits out of my workout than a lot of people that have been working out a lot longer than I have. It’s like I’m trudging through mud, but that is good! Check out this article on Shape.com to understand why it’s so awesome. Don’t get me wrong, you’re doing good stuff regardless, but if you want to be able to run that 5k sooner, press that arrow button! Make sure you’re not leaning back with the incline either, as this defeats the purpose.
  • They Never Touch Weights or Resistance Machines: Cardio is awesome, but you show the world you don’t know a thing about your body when you only run on the treadmill. If you want to burn more calories and tone up, do not be intimidated by those contraptions on the other side of the room. There are instructions with pictures on each one. If I can do it, you can do it. Seriously. Some gyms even have a trainer with whom you can make an appointment. They will show you how to safely use the weights. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! It may seem contradictory to this whole post, but no injury is worth saving face.
  • They Don’t Use Enough Weight or Do Enough Reps: You’re not impressing anyone by quickly clanking the weights up and down on the resistance machines, or by benching 100 lbs with ease. You’re also not doing yourself any favors. (Note: Some people do this burn out thing where they do a small amount of weight a bajillion times until their muscles die. Ignore this post if this is your strategy. To each his/her own.) The first time you do a particular exercise, find your max. This is the maximum amount of weight with which you can SAFELY complete one full rep of the motion. This will give you a number with which to start goal setting. Now find the weight with which you can safely complete 8 to 10 reps… and do that 2 to 3 times (sets). Towards the end, you want to struggle. If you’re not feelin’ the burn, you’re not doing enough. If you’re afraid your intestines might fly out of your ass at any moment, you’re doing too much. No one wants to see your entrails.
  • They Don’t Set Goals: You’ve got to keep track of what you’re doing and you’ve got to improve. Set baby goals and big goals, and make sure they’re measurable. My current goals are to increase my speed from 3.4 to 4.4 on a Level 7 resistance by the end of March (2014), to do a full 5 minutes on this weird tiny escalator machine without dying by the end of March, and to consistently increase the amount of weight I do on the machines once per month or more. My big goal is to be a size 14 in time for the James Taylor concert in August. That is 150 days away, and I am currently an 18/20. I keep track of all this with an app called Nexercise. I earn points and level up, and since I am a nerd, leveling up is the perfect incentive. I record my weight levels in draft emails on my phone. Whatever. It works for me. A good old fashioned notebook would be fine, too. Seeing your progress in the mirror is harder than seeing your actual progress in a notebook. PS you can’t UNDO a workout with a bad meal, so shut up with that drama.
  • They Care Too Much About What People Think: This seems like a total contradiction, I know, but the bottom line here is to make sure you’re doing a routine that works for you, that actually is going to give you results, and do it to it. Screw those judgmental glares you THINK you’re getting, and who cares if someone thinks you look gross. That is on THEM, not you. You are a beautiful creation, no matter what your size. Love your body, and then show it some love. Don’t make it about looks. Make it about health. And don’t fart. Sometimes it’s hard to hold it in at the gym, but think of it as part of your workout and clench that butt. You are a lady! You do not rip it in public, and if you accidentally do, I cannot save you.

Truth is, working out comes easy to some, but for a lot of us it sucks and it’s hard. GOOD FOR YOU! You are starting a very difficult and scary journey. Take these tips, make it less awkward on yourself, and kick that flabby butt into motion. I’ll see you at the gym! And if you want to encourage each other, feel free to message me. Sometimes I need a little push, too. We can be workout buddies, and today I am redefining workout buddy to include helping you to fly under the radar until you’re so sexy it’s impossible.

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions

Redefining “Neighborly Love”

I want a house.

I live in a U-shaped apartment building, and I have come to realize that living in an apartment is like sharing a house with a bunch of crazy relatives you don’t really talk about. I have heard some pretty crazy stuff on the other side of these walls, and I know they know I’ve heard them, but we still just awkwardly smile at each other in the parking lot. People are weird, and I wonder what they think of me, because I have drawn several conclusions about them.

Everyone that has lived in an apartment complex has encountered these neighbors. If you are missing one of these types of neighbors, it’s probably you. Don’t be so loud. Everyone is annoyed. We talk about you when you’re checking the mail.

The Obliviously Loud Neighbors: My upstairs neighbors are a nice couple. The guy is military, and his wife is Asian. They have lived here just about as long as I have, about a year and a half. I have spoken to the wife on several occasions and I am STILL not sure if she speaks and understands English or if she just knows like 10 words and phrases to get through her day. She could also be antisocial, OR she could think I am crazy because of something she heard coming from her floor. Now, I understand apartment life is bound to get noisy from time to time, but these people kick it up to the extreme. For one, I am confident that they are often jumping rope at odd hours. They may also be involved in training their enormous dogs to jump hurdles and/or participate in a dog rodeo. Today, I’m pretty sure they were bowling. The husband recently got a sweet new surround sound system, and he loves Call of Duty. A lot. His wife loves karaoke, and though her song choices suck (My Heart Will Go On? Really? This is 2014. Let it die), she’s really not that bad. Fun facts: the husband gets up every morning around 4 am, because his CELL PHONE ALARM VIBRATION WAKES ME UP! He sets it on the floor. Please stop. Also, he lasts about 45 seconds to 3 minutes when giving it to his lady. In all fairness, they probably know a bit more about what happens in my room than I’d prefer them to know. A couple times he’s asked me if they are too loud, but they’re SO NICE, so I’m like whaaaaat? Pshhh naw. It’s all good, man. But not exactly, because I don’t talk like that. How are they so loud?

The Sweet Old Lady: My next door neighbor’s name is Sue. She is a pleasant, albeit talkative, senior lady. Her husband passed away years ago, and she has lived here since the 70s when the apartments first opened up. When I first moved in she informed me that my stove and counter tops were the same ones that had been in the apartment since the 7os. The stove was yellow. Thank God, it was soon replaced. She also informed me that the people who had moved out of my apartment were disgusting, young party animals. It’s possible she was testing us to see if we were similar. Lucky for her, we like books more than people. If you have somewhere to be, and it’s a nice day, you’d better leave 15 minutes early, because Sue is sitting on her porch and she WILL ask you 37 questions. You must answer these, or you are a bitch. Nothing is bad or weird about Sue, except that we have never, not once, heard her in her apartment. She might be a ghost. Can other people see her?

The Ghost People: The people in the 4th apartment on our little secluded chunk of flats I have no information on. They must be creatures of the night. I know that a couple lives there. Maybe. I have seen the woman that lives there three times. THREE TIMES in a year and a half. If I saw her at the store I wouldn’t recognize her. If I saw her on our steps I wouldn’t recognize her. I have seen her husband ONCE. What are they doing? I am home ALL DAY LONG. It seriously baffles my brain bits.

The Should-I-Call-Someone Couple: Directly across the courtyard on the 2nd floor is a couple and their children. The man that lives there hates his wife. I mean this man is miserable. Or he’s a dick. Probably a combination. On far too many occasions I have had to passive aggressively look through my slat blinds across the back door to try to serve as a reminder to him that his nightly tirades come with an audience sitting in box seats. This guy read that all the world’s a stage and took that crap literally. I am sure your wife is the effing biznatch you so lovingly have deemed her, and we all know she is a whore, because you told her while standing on your porch loud enough for the entire city to hear, but we do not want to be ringside to witness the destruction of your marriage. I get it. You married the hot girl, and then knocked her up three times, and now she expects you to help with your tiny angel daughters all under the age of 4. What a bitch. And where the hell IS your dinner, man? We here at the Armour Ave Apartments totally feel ya, but I’m not sure it’s the healthiest thing for my son to witness, or your babies, oh and it’s 3 am. Shut the hell up. I have frequently considered leaving a pamphlet about local women’s shelters on this family’s doorstep, but I also do not want to face this man’s wrath.

The Crazies or The Possible Serial Killer: About a year ago a family moved into the apartment attached to mine at a right angle. Basically, my bedroom shares a wall with one of theirs, and their back porch is directly outside my bedroom window. This in and of itself is enough to make me despise this family. These are two bedroom apartments, and this family has way too many people living there for them to comfortably fit without going insane. There is something disturbing about these people that I cannot quite place, but they give me a weird feeling inside that makes me feel like I need an adult. I am almost convinced they eat human flesh, or something equally as frightening. This is the type of family that when you eventually see them on the news for something totally scary, like they were keeping teen girls chained up in the bathroom, you aren’t all that surprised. They yell a lot, like crazy-top-of-your-lungs-losing-your-mind scream at each other. One time, about a month after they’d moved in, the mother yelled at Jessica for taking her parking spot. Not only have we lived here longer, the spot was closer to our apartment, and there is no assigned parking. The kids are extremely odd. We had friends over once, and they sat on my back porch. The son came outside just to stare at them. At night. Then he walked through the courtyard (which leads to nothing) and stood there to watch them some more. From a slightly different angle. Their stupid chihuahua is taken outside by the mother every effing morning at 5:30 am, where she has a conversation with the dog and it barks incessantly outside my window. The younger daughter who could be any age from 10 to 20, which is already confusing, sits in the parking lot and colors with chalk, and splashes in rain puddles like a toddler. She is not challenged in any way. These people also own two demon beasts cast from hell because even Satan was like wtf is up with these dogs? They WILL eat you. They are small and mean, and one of them looks like it has been brought to the Pet Cemetery several times. The daughter has released her stupid dog on my sweet pup TWICE, on purpose, saying Go Get Him! And her dog ran in our house once coming after my innocent doggy. I thought Jessica was going to murder her on the spot. These people are nuts, and may possibly be living under an alias. They give me the heebs.

Anyway, I hate having to basically share a house with people I don’t know. I need a house. But these crazy fools keep my life entertaining, and they have to deal with my child singing about poop at 11 pm as loud as possible, and with the sound of me screaming at the dog for ripping my flesh off with his eagle talons when I wait too long to have them clipped, so I try to live and let live, because neighborly love doesn’t have to mean I bake them cookies. I’m defining it as tolerance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions

Redefining “Book Lover”

I’m a nerd. Let’s just go ahead and put that out there. I was the girl in school who loved going to class more than going to lunch. In 1st and 2nd grade when we separated into reading groups, I was in my own group because I was reading well beyond the level of my classmates. I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the 4th grade, before Elijah Wood even hit puberty. For Christmas, when I was 12, I asked for William Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe’s complete works. Bonus: I also got Emily Dickinson’s complete collection. I really took to Shakespeare, though. I carried that giant, gold-edged book everywhere. I had 4 friends. I loved to read. I have always thought of myself as a book lover. I think I was wrong.

Thanks, Santa!

Thanks, Santa!

My favorite place to go is the bookstore. I don’t know what it is about all those crispy, new pages waiting to be devoured by my eyeballs that sets my heart aflutter. However, I seem to go there once a week and leave with nothing to show for the trip. I’ve probably read the back of every book in there. Every so often I’ll find a book and take it home. My latest purchases being Damned by Chuck Palahniuk, who every hipster who is any hipster was into before all the other hipsters, and Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane, who hasn’t written anything else except for a short-story prequel to this book.These both receive my stamp of approval, a highly sought-after literary achievement.

I am not a book lover. I am a book snob. My dad, aka Doodles the Woodis, is a book lover. My mom is a book lover. They read just for the sake of reading. My dad’s favorite flavor is the dime store crime novel, and my mom will listen to any book on disc as long as the narrator makes it sound cool. They love a good story, or a mediocre story, or any story. I do not.

I refuse to read Twilight because I opened the first one in the middle one day, read two or three pages and had to aggressively and forcefully hold down the rising vomit. This was likely an allergic reaction to the crap writing my brain was trying to comprehend. Same thing goes for 50 Shades. I don’t give a flying french fry how much you love it. Shut up. It’s not good. And now I like you less for your indignant defensiveness over these prime examples of the dumbing down of our culture.

Anyway, this discovery that I am not a book lover, and actually a book snob was made on my latest trip to the library. Side note: a library is just like a bookstore, except all the books are free. It’s like one of those things you know, but it doesn’t really click until you’re digging for sticky quarters at the bottom of your purse to buy a quad shot latte, and you realize you’d better start looking for ways to save a buck here and there. So there I am, giddy as a goat (that’s a saying, right?) practically skipping toward the fiction section, down the first aisle, my eyes drinking in all the titles, and it hits me… I don’t want to read any of these. These are bad. These are dead books that sound awful and predictable, the plots repeated again and again. The majority of these books consists of terrible writing, and I was suddenly hit violently with the disgusting thought that I really only have so many years to live, and what if I waste valuable reading time on something like The Mortal Instruments (which was a super cool movie, but the books are gross).

I did leave that day with a book. I found it about dead center, and I kid you not, I read every freaking title from A to S in the fiction section, and probably 30 made their way into my hand to scan the pages and read the backs, until I happened upon a tattered copy of a book I had sorta kinda heard about somewhere in my late night Amazon browsing, I think. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society had some Amazon reviews that initially gave me caution, but I was getting panicked and desperate at this point, fearing the loss of my nerd status should I walk out of our holy sanctuary and headquarters without anything to show. I think I made a decent choice. Jury is still out.

This will have to do, I thought.

This will have to do, I thought.

So today I am redefining myself, no longer to be labeled a book lover. I am a book snob, and that is okay. I will  not read your romantic dribble. I want my books to leave me aching in head and heart. I want my books to  change my soul. They have to be well-written, they have to use a lot of language, and they have to paint a  picture. I want to be transported, and if I am stumbling over your shoddy attempts at shocking plot twists or  your complete disregard for English, it simply will not happen. And look, don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming to be some sort of genius. I just have certain criteria that my books must meet. It’s not even that hard. My favorite books are the Harry Potter series (duh), The Wicked Years series, The Giver, and The Chronicles of Narnia. To each her (or his) own. Some girls like brown eyes, and some like blue. All I am saying is don’t be a book slut. Be a book snob.

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions

Redefining “Sorrow”

I lost my grandmother. We went on the Death Trek as mentioned in a previous post, and instead of this being the last trip we would take to see her, it turned out to be her last days. I knew it was coming. I mean, I knew for months that she wasn’t doing good. Does that prepare someone for losing one of their most favorite people in the world? Surely, it does not. I wish I could describe this pain. I think it would maybe even help me to identify exactly what I am feeling. But the only words I can come up with are “lost” and “empty”… those aren’t very descriptive.

I took her to the hospital, and she was doing okay. Maybe we shouldn’t have taken her. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so hard on her body. Maybe she would still be here for my graduation. I don’t know science, so I really can’t say. Maybe it was just her time. It’s hard for me, hard for any of us to come to terms with that whole “her time” thing, because she had to basically choose to die. That was the worst part. She was tired. She felt sick. She asked me when she was going to feel better at first, and then later she informed me she wasn’t going to get better. She chose to end her dialysis treatment, and we were assured she would slip quietly into a sleep-like state, and drift away. This did not happen.

Something so wonderful about these hands

Something so wonderful about these hands

For days she struggled to breathe. She hallucinated. She was anxious and afraid. She resisted. She coughed. She died in a fit of struggle. I tried to be strong. I tried not to show her how devastated I was that she was leaving me, because I didn’t want her to hold on longer. She’s the kind of woman that would do that. She had to make sure everyone was going to be okay before she left. Perhaps the hardest part of all of this was just watching her suffer. I’m sure everyone says that. She is so beautiful, so strong, and she left in such a terrible way. I hated it. I hated that more than the fact that she was dying. I painted her nails and did her make-up. I picked out her final outfit, and put on her jewelry before the funeral men got there, because she would have hated them seeing her looking completely undone.

I broke down once. I HATE crying. I hate emotion. I hate feeling. It’s awful. I’m not in control. I cried here and there of course, but when we went to see her for the last time laid out with her hands folded… I couldn’t. I knew it would break me, so I stood outside the door while everyone else stood around her and I forgot how to breathe in that moment. The only reason I stepped around that corner was because I knew if I didn’t I would regret it. I had to. I willed myself around the door. It was like moving through mud. And then I saw her. And oh, did she look beautiful. They did her make-up perfectly. They had her hair done exactly right. She was sleeping. She was only sleeping, and then I knew she wasn’t and my knees stopped working and everything I had pushed below the surface came rising to the top and out so violently that I fell to the floor. I sobbed on the floor of the funeral home like a child. I thought to myself that I needed to pull myself together, that I was being ridiculous, that people have suffered worse. But I have never suffered worse, and my throat was closing, and my chest was aching, and my stomach was sinking as I realized this was the last time I would see her; the same way it does whenever I remember I’ll never see her in this life again. I stayed behind after everyone left, stroking her hands, kissing her head. I don’t even know how I managed to leave. I would have stayed for hours if I could have, but the funeral director was waiting patiently at the door. So then I stood at the bottom of these weird, green stairs and cried some more, shaking my head at how stupid I was for losing it like this.

It was really rainy and gray that whole week, and I was glad for it. When my grandfather died I remember it was all sunny and abnormally warm for February. That had angered me for some reason. So in this gloomy weather, I was glad. Serves the whole world right, I thought, indignantly and ridiculously.  As soon as I put down the pen I was using to write what I would say at her service, my aunt called from the yard that there was a rainbow. I smiled then. She approved, I decided.

All this disjointed recalling to say this: I have never felt a sadness so deep, so engulfing, so limitless as the one I feel over losing my grandmother. I wake up and I am sad. I go through each motion and I am sad. My first thought of each day is that I wish I could talk to her. My last thought when I go to bed is that I miss her. There are hundreds of moments throughout the day that I feel a tug in my heart, a pain in the pit of my stomach, a tear threatening to fall, a catch in my throat. And I wonder when the moments might space themselves out farther. I feel guilty because people all around me deal with much worse and I am mired in the sorrow that comes from losing the person that we pretty much all lose, but I just can’t let go. And she would scold me. She would say, “Oh, Court, you’re being ridiculous.” Or she might joke and say, “Well I didn’t realize you loved your old gram so much.” But mostly I don’t know what she’d say because she is gone, and I have redefined a word I thought I understood, and that is sorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions

Redefining “Embarrassment”

It’s really hard for me to get embarrassed. My mother trained me long ago, against my will, to put my whole self out there, and if people don’t like it then they’re probably not very awesome. I’ve found this to be true. Furthermore, even though I am in that awkward size between Plus and … not plus… (regular? who knows anymore), I am still full of sexiness and confidence. I may sometimes dabble in self-loathing, but men still find me attractive and I’ve got a pretty alright face. That being said, I have recently become acquainted with this strange feeling known as embarrassment.

I knew it wasn't me!

I knew it wasn’t me!

Backstory: If you don’t already know, and you should, but if you don’t, I am mere months from finishing my Undergrad degree. Unfortunately, this last semester found me lacking the transfer credits for a Physical Education course. Shoot me dead, what could be worse? Oh, maybe the fact that it’s midday, so there’s no chance of looking proper every Monday and Wednesday, and that I am nearing twenty-eight years old. That is TEN YEARS older than the majority of my class. The fact that they all only seem to own “Class of 2013” t-shirts is just salt in the wound. Anyway, turns out it’s really not THAT bad, except when we did the whole BMI lab. Eff you, chart. You don’t know my life!

It’s a half a semester course, and I thought I was going to make it out of there without incident until… dun, dun, DUNNNN… my teacher pulled me aside and asked me if I had forgotten my “dress-out clothes” as they call them here in the South. I assured her that I did not, and that my Danskin pants and tank-top were essentially what I always wore to class. Then she LOOKED AT MY CHEST, MOTIONED TO THE LADIES, and said, “Let’s wear a t-shirt next time,” as if to say, put them bad girls away. I was momentarily speechless, a rarity, and then I said, “It’s just a tank top. The other girls are wearing them, too. Mine even has a shirt over it.” She said, “Well, just wear a t-shirt next time.” I wasn’t wearing a corset, my bra wasn’t hanging out, my nipples weren’t verging on exposure, and I CERTAINLY was not trying to get noticed. There were shirtless men in the gym, and while I am not complaining, I am merely comparing.

I have large lovelies. Yes, they are Double Ds. Go me. They’re pretty proportional to the rest of my body. And while I understand that men might become distracted by them, SO BE IT! I am an adult, and so is everyone else on this campus. Guess what! If I wear a t-shirt, they’re still pretty round and bouncy! However, I ASSURE you, that with no make-up, my hair in a gross bun directly on top of my head, and a very awkwardly shaped body struggling to Lat Press 30 lbs, that no one is checking me out! There are mirrors. I resemble a turtle-fish, on its back in a shallow puddle struggling to both flip over and breathe. Yes, I had to invent and animal to illustrate just how painfully ridiculous I look. And I am okay with this. I have no one to impress. I have a really good-looking boyfriend, and a collection of muscley man-friends. I do not need the attention of that one guy I always see that is doing prison pull ups with his sculpted, tattooed arms and chest glistening in the sun that filters in through the wall of windows… where was I? OH, yeah, so back off, lady! To quote one of my best friends upon hearing this story, “I am almost thirty years old, and if I want to wear spaghetti straps at the gym, I’ll do it!” Girls around this place wear far less clothing to academic classes, and no one says a word. In fact, a word was NOT said to the other 8 girls wearing tank tops in class, maybe because they also wore tiny shorts so she figured it was a lost cause entirely. And before you comment, I know that nothing was said to them because I asked.

Why this embarrassed me so badly is hard to say. I was singled out, and that didn’t feel good. I felt like my body was so different that someone took notice and then asked me to cover it up (which I already was, because I had a large shirt over the whole shebang). I know I am not the same body type as the other girls, so maybe my jiggly parts aren’t as appealing to the eye, and perhaps that is why something was said only to me. Either way, what a yucky feeling I had for the rest of the day. I just wanted to throw on a sweatshirt and pajama bottoms and crawl under my giant feather comforter.

Just remember folks, what might be totally vanilla to you, might be horrifically embarrassing to someone else. Think about how you address one another. Think about tact. Think about boobs, but not mine. They aren’t good enough for the gym. I think I have a tendency to really trample on people’s feelings because it is so rare for me to be humiliated to such a degree. So today, I redefine embarrassment, and that just might make me a better person.

Leave a comment

Filed under Definitions