What Do Pride & Warped Tour Have In Common?

As we’ve previously covered, I’m a sad person for many reasons. But! I had a really good weekend & I let something pretty big roll off my shoulders quite seamlessly which I’m very proud of.

I love emo music (yes, more than pop music) & last summer I went all the way to California to be at the best Warped Tour date for their last cross country tour. Then they announced there would be 3 shows this summer & I jumped when I saw that one weekend was in New Jersey. New Jersey is basically down the street from NYC so I got tickets without really looking into it & I was super pumped to scream for 2 days straight. Alas, the devil’s in the details & it didn’t end up working out so I didn’t go. At first I was really sad because this is my thing & a few days before I really gave up on going, I saw this post by my people at Alternative Press that was like salt in my open wound;

altpress concerts

Concerts are so great!! Experiencing music live is like nothing else! Experiencing anything in the moment & really letting yourself be present in it is what life is all about. Which brings me to the silver lining of not going to Warped Tour…

World Pride! After living in NYC for about 4 years now, I had never been able to attend Pride because of work or travel & this year I would have missed the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot if I had gone to the same thing I’ve done other summers. I took this not-able-to-go-to-the-foreign-land-of-NJ as a sign that I needed to break out of my shell. On Sunday, I traded my studded belt for a dress with rainbow stripes & instead of painting my nails black, I did my eye makeup with some purple sparkly stuff! I drank, danced, sang, & it was really freakin awesome.

pride ny

Why can’t every day have more rainbows in it? Why are there only colorful flags out in June? Can’t we wear tutus & glitter all the time? As amazing & fun as it to have one big party & a whole month of celebration, it also makes you realize how dull & oppressive the other times of the year are.

No matter what month it is, people are struggling. I am struggling. It’s important to know that everyone is struggling, some more than others & in very different ways, but we need to look out for each other. Can’t we all just be present, listen, dance around, smile, accept others even if we’re different, & be honest? If we did those things just a little more, we could all be better. & not just better for social media but for real. I’m pretty sad & I feel lonely most of the time but I’m trying to work on that by doing more outside of my comfort zone, strengthening friendships that I’ve let slide/have been sleeping on, & trying to really be there for the people I surround myself with because it can’t just be me who’s sad & lonely.

Can we all try to do that? That’s my request for the day. I would love if we could all work on helping others so that I can stop being sad about things that will never change (because we can change them!!) & can stop asking unanswerable questions about when world peace will happen.

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But Do We All Deserve Crowns?

As per Tay’s new jam, “You Need To Calm Down”, we all wear crowns, which is something I can 100% get behind. But I’m also very disappointed with people as of late & am wondering if everyone really deserves their crown.

Why am I disappointed? Chernobyl. When They See Us. Alabama. A person I watched liter. People who I think I can trust talking about my business to others. The animals who’s livelihoods are threatened by climate changed.

How can people be so selfish & turn a blind eye? How can people force others to lie for them? How can people knowingly ruin another beings life? Why are humans like this!? I get so mad & so sad & no I am not perfect but I try to make the best choice possible when given options.

I would just like everyone to do one of two things (or both if you’re ambitious);

  1. Watch Tay’s YNTCD video & learn how to chill tf out.
  2. Read “The House of Impossible Beauties” & get some perspective.

The world is either going to explode soon because we’ve polluted so much of it or we’ll bomb each other into space because one leader is mad enough at another. We are all trying to live out our days in peace & maybe have some fun while we’re at it! So watch/read & think before you act & try to be nice & don’t be dishonest. I’m getting really sad so please just try. 

To All The People I’ve A Little Loved Before

The times, they are a changin’, & I have never been great with change so it’s been a rough start to the year for me. The end of last year I was so consumed with work that I never slowed down to absorb all the movements happening around me. Now I have a lot more free time & dust is starting to settle & I really can’t believe where I’m at. As I’ve touched on before, when I take a step back from my own life I am in awe a bit at what I’ve done & where I am, all things considered. But on the day to day level, I’m just me & I do what I can to keep myself sane & it’s really not that impressive that I prefer to make coffee at home to save money or that I fall asleep on my couch watching HBO (Game of Thrones obvs) or that I get anxious waiting for people to text me back about plans.
One of the things I’m doing more with my free time is reading. I was gifted A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara by two fellow readers so I knew it was going to be good & I finally read it last month. It was such an exhausting read but in the best way. I really lived alongside the characters because the author did an amazing job of fully immersing you in their world; I felt everything as they did as deeply as they did. It was a beautiful experience & so well written & really opened my eyes to the different ways people can exist, feel, live, & cope. I won’t give away any spoilers but one of the main characters, Jude, has this way of thinking about himself that I feel is 100% me. He believes that because of what happened in his past, the people in his current life won’t love him if they find out everything he’s been through because it was terrible & he’s been tainted by it all. I don’t say that for dramatic effect or to make anyone think my experiences make up a lifetime movie script, but I really do feel that based on my childhood & teenage years, I’m not really meant to have that cookie cutter happy ending. Maybe it’s a self fulfilling prophecy because I tend to keep people at an arms length & it’s almost like each close friend has one story of mine or knows one chapter of my past but no one person has the whole compilation. If one person does get it all, they’ll see what I’m really like & won’t like it. So, as Jude does, I just keep my secrets & act accordingly in front of people. That being said, it doesn’t mean that I’m fake; I do actually mean what I say to people & I do really have fun when I’m out & I don’t lie to anyone when I’m talking to them. There’s just always a little voice in my head asking if I’m being cool enough (answer is usually “no”) or if I’m saying the right thing or if I’ve messed up by acting some type of way because why would anything really be going right? Why hasn’t the other shoe dropped yet?
So! After reading A Little Life & realizing a lot about myself, I felt I needed something light & cute to balance out all the intense feelings I got from the story of Jude & Willem & JB & Malcolm. Cue the young adult series being made into Netflix films, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han…
I watched the first movie & of course drooled over Noah Centineo, then squealed after learning Ross Butler was going to be cast in the sequel. The books were a quick read but actually a lot more emotional than I expected. In this series there’s of course silly drama with popular girls & the struggle of having a crush on 2 boys at once but it’s all really rooted in the fact that Lara Jean is growing up. It’s what made me realize that myself & everyone around me also grew up & I don’t know how I got so old & how it’s time for my friends to be making big life decisions. & when did life go from dressing up for school dances to dressing up for wedding showers? These books made me want to curl up in bed with the perfect chocolate chip cookie & cry over everything that once was & then find a tall, cute lax bro to drive me around in his Audi while we listen to Frank Ocean (any takers??). Definitely not the reaction I thought I’d have to a young adult trilogy but, again, the times they are a changin’ & I’m unnecessarily emotional about it.
Now I’m reading a psychological thriller about a woman who’s husband was beaten to death when he was out for a run. Can’t wait to find out what glass case of emotion I end up in after this one!

Running Like The Wind, Or At Least My Attempts To Do So

The difference of a few seconds may not seem like a lot on paper/screen but watching a clock tick as you near the end of a run, whether it’s a quiet week night jog or on race day, is such a rush.

At the beginning of November 2016, I had yet to run my first full marathon. My average pace was around 9:00/mile but on long runs it was closer to 10:00/mile.

A year later, by the end of November 2017, after a summer really focused on speed training, I made a mile PR (personal record) of 7:28 & had run 3 full marathons.

Within a few months, in February 2018, I slowed down a bit with a 7:30 as my quickest pace.

As of last night, I beat my PR from 2017 by 3 seconds. I ran a 7:25 minute mile during a 4+ mile run, averaging a pace of 7:54.

In 3 months I’ll be running my fifth full marathon & shaving those seconds off, even if it’s just one mile on one day, is a huge deal! Some days I feel like crap, about running & about things in general, but on occasion I get to look back to see that I’ve improved which is a really cool thing.

Any time I congratulate myself or feel proud of myself, I feel guilty. Like what have I really done or accomplished that’s so great? I didn’t cure cancer & I haven’t figured out how to achieve world peace, all I do is run (races & away from my problems). But if I keep looking back, I see the story that a lot of people want to live… A small town to a big city… growing up in a broken home but managing to be a somewhat sane adult… I pay my own way when it comes to school, living expenses, vacations, etc. I haven’t gotten myself into too much trouble that I can’t get out of (knock on wood), I have a job I like, friends that I can count on, & then there’s running. All things considered, I guess I can give myself a pat on the back every now & then.

Hoping To Live More Than 1,000 Lives Before I Die

I have been a reading fiend lately. I think it’s the cold weather & the fact that most of my friends live far away. Luckily my friends, who live near & far, know how much I love books so I’ve been working through a really awesome library of gifts. I also have this habit of shopping the sale areas of bookstores or the book tables at flea markets so that I can find these random gems for a steal of a price. Over the summer I went to BookCon & got some great reads there, too. Here are some of my faves from the past 6 months (in no particular order);

Patrick Melrose by Edward St. Aubyn: Dark, which is kind of my thing. Of course the book was better than the show but Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job with the role. The story goes through 5 stages of the main character’s (you guessed it, Patrick’s) life from when he was a boy of about 5 to maybe his 50’s. There is a lot of trauma but it requires some reading between the lines to really get the full scoop. Ups & downs happen, you’re for him & against him, there’s definitely a page turner quality about it yet it isn’t suspenseful.

You & Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes: 2 books here, You being the first & Hidden Bodies being the sequel, that are another case of “book is better than show”. I originally heard of You because I came across an interview with Penn Badgley who plays the lead, & who we all know from Gossip Girl, discussing how the new show related to his character Dan from GG. Naturally I bought it knowing the book would be better & in order to watch I had to read first. It *clap emoji* is *clap emoji* so *clap emoji* good!!! I’m not usually into mystery/thriller as a genre but this was all that & more! You’re trying to figure out his past & his motives while you’re also terrified for the people he’s coming into contact with but you’re also falling for him then you’re turned on because there’s some good sex happening in there then you’re sad for everything that’s happened or you’re on the edge of your seat trying to decide how you want it to all end! There are deviations in the show but I obviously can’t wait for season 2 which will follow the plot of Hidden Bodies.

Back Talk by Danielle Lazarin: This is a book of short stories strictly about women. It’s very powerful, especially in the era of #MeToo & #TimesUp. Stories range from the perspective of young girls to those of parents as well as all the stages of growing up that happen in between. The over arching theme is about the way life is as a female & how we process that as we get older, what that means for how we have to carry ourselves in certain situations, how the women that are around us as we grow shape so much of our world, & how easily that world can be taken from us based on the men in it. They aren’t all sad or traumatic or graphic but they are all honest & extremely eye opening.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira: A young adult novel that takes place over the course of a girl’s freshman year in high school. Yes, there were lots of feelings & boy gossip but it was also mature & covered topics full grown adults sometimes are hesitant to cover. I think it’s important to talk about sexuality, death, partying, & abuse with the younger people of the world because obviously we need that to be more of a discussion. I know, I know, crazy breakthrough idea I just had.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur: I have only read a handful of poetry books in my days but this one takes the cake. It goes with the theme of darkness that I like so much but there are also uplifting poems! The books is broken into 4 sections; the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. While it may start dark, it will bring you up, then back down, but will end on a good note. The sketches in it are also so perfect. & what’s great about these poems is that most of them are short so you can re-read to make sure you get the maximum impact.

anything by Lauren Groff: Ok I guess I can’t say anything since I’ve only read 2 of her books but having both of them on this list must count for something! She is such a compelling writer who gets details so right without over indulging on scenery or descriptions. Her word choice is impeccable & direct. She tells stories from different times of characters lives but makes it all feel like a continuous chronological piece. She changes perspectives seamlessly. It isn’t dialogue heavy because her style is more like a stream of consciousness without being messy. Fates and Furies is up on my top 5 favorites books of all time. Florida is really great as well but I don’t think Fates and Furies is getting topped by it.

I’m down to only 4 books that are unread on my shelf. I still have a bookstore gift card left over from the holidays that’s just burning a whole in my pocket. Are there any books I have to check out? Clearly I read a lot of fiction but I’m open to suggestions!

Don’t Carry Your Shoes In A Lobby This Year

Every year I make resolutions because, as society has taught us, changing a date on a calendar makes you new person. I’m undecided on if I agree or disagree. No, of course I didn’t change from 12/31 @ 11:59pm  to 1/1 @ 12:00am but it’s nice to think I could. It’s also nice to dress in sparkles & have a holiday that doesn’t focus on gifts or eating a huge meal with all your relatives.

& at the risk of sounding cheesy, isn’t it the possibility that makes the idea of resolutions so enticing? There’s this hope in the air after the new year begins because it’s a bit like a clean slate. It’s the outlook that I’m sure all motivational speakers back & all inspirational quotes are based on. But isn’t every minute of every new day a chance to turn it all around!? Please read that last sentence in a high pitched valley girl voice because I hate myself for typing it. 

So now that my sappy new years feels are out there… This is my list of resolutions & how I’m doing with them one month in!

  1. Don’t text first: This obviously applies to people I’m trying to date/mate. I’m hoping to find someone that’s into me & is willing to try for it. I lasted 8 days with this one but I keep trying every damn day!!
  2. Core workouts 2x a week: This is mostly for my running (training for my 5th full marathon!) but it can’t hurt to be in better shape. If I have a year round summer bod, maybe I’ll score the type of person mentioned in resolution 1.
  3. Be at my desk more: Desk in my room not desk at the office. I feel like I fall off the writing bandwagon often &, whether it’s on this site or in my actual journal, writing really does make me feel better so I need to make sure I do it.
  4. Eat what I want: Within reason. For almost 10 years I was a vegetarian & I’m just tired of restricting myself or feeling guilty if I “cheat”. It’s not like I had a medical reason for becoming a vegetarian so why am I punishing myself if I want a buffalo chicken wing? I’m deciding to let myself live & make choices based on my cravings/mood. There are some things I still won’t eat because of taste & because I just don’t want to, & there are still some of my “diet” habits that I’ll stick to. Again, year round summer bod is the goal. 

Let’s do this February!

The View From Heaven

Life isn’t always short. It can seem like fifty years happen in one minute, or like one minute lasted fifty years. And, no, that’s not the same. Life can be long & it can have ups, downs, vivid memories, boring days, tragedy, fairytale storylines.

The part that bothers me about life & how it ends, is that it really gets taken too suddenly sometimes. Mac Miller is a recent example of this. Not saying that a sickness or a long-term aging process makes it easier but it just really hits you when it’s so out of the blue. You are here, literally, then gone.

Within the past few days, 2 people who crossed my life’s path have died. And they have done so in very abrupt ways. I can’t even say that I knew them much; one was a person I knew of distantly through a friend, another a person I had worked with recently for a contracted project.

That happens more often than we realize though, doesn’t it? Someone distantly connected, 6 degrees of separation maybe, dies or gets sick or is injured or experiences their own tragedy.

It’s just for me, the beginning of September is tough… emotionally. I had my first real experience with death around now a long time ago. I was a kid. It was a freak accident. Nothing was ever normal again.

Maybe that’s why I’m so anti-fall… it’s too sad for me. Or maybe it’s because I don’t like what’s around the corner from fall; the cold, dark winter months. But maybe I don’t like fall because I’m scarred & I continually push my feelings deep down so I just freak out every September & blame the fact that it gets cold out.

Conundrum.

 

PS- I feel like there could be a short story here.

Girl Gets Sexually Assaulted & Has Some Things To Say

Today my ass was grabbed, rather aggressively, by a stranger in public.

I was not wearing a skirt or dress. I was not wearing a revealing a top & my hair was not done & there was no makeup on my face. I was not making eye contact. I had not said a word to anyone around me.

The fact that I feel it’s necessary to lay those things out is an issue. 

It was at Grand Central, as the passengers were getting off the subway & I was standing to the side in a crowd waiting to get on. I whipped my head around & yelled “hey!” at the passerbyers but I had no idea who, in the sea of commuters & tourists, was the culprit.

I wanted to go tell someone but who would I tell? How would anyone find this person? How would they get punished for assaulting me? I was being shuffled into the train by the swarms of people & no one around was even aware that anything had happened to me. That person would go on with their day & probably continue behaving like that because there were no consequences.

Another time, a little less than a year ago, I was coming out of a subway station onto a sidewalk where there were street vendors selling scarves or hats or “I heart NY” tees. A man looked at me & said “damn you’re beautiful” & when I did not reply he pushed me. Another man saw & came to my defense in that scenario but I was too shocked to do anything so I kept walking.

You’re thinking, “you live in a big scary city where people are evil”. To that I say, “hell no.”

Do you know how many times I was taken advantage of when I lived in a small city? Do you know how many of my so-called friends I grew up with in a small town did inappropriate things to me under one guise or another? Do you know how many times I witnessed assault before I even understand what it meant to be assaulted?

No. You don’t. 

& do you know how many people were punished for doing those things to me or around me? None. Because we were kids or because it happened so long ago or because I was too confused & scared to say anything. Because I am not a celebrity.

& how many of those celebrities or public figures or rich people are actually punished? What punishment is even severe enough for some of their crimes?

This is not a New York City problem. This is not a male-to-female problem. This is not a racial or cultural or religious problem. This is, simply put, a problem. It is coming out of the woodwork more & more how much of an epidemic this has been, & sadly still is.

I do everything in my power to not go through these scenarios on a day-to-day basis, whether it be through outfit choice or my resting bitch face, yet they are constantly happening. Some worse, like today, than others, like most days when I just get cat-called.

It’s sad that having vulgar things yelled at me in the streets counts as a good day.

Whether it’s in your own green, leafy backyard or in a concrete jungle, this stuff happens & it’s not okay. Hopefully one day it will not happen, no matter where you are. Maybe people will learn to respect personal space & boundaries, will understand they need to ask & that “no” really means no. I hope we no longer need hashtags or dateline specials or magazine covers dedicated to the fight.

Why I Love Tay & Her Big Reputation

People can talk all the shit they want about Taylor Swift but you have to hand it to that girl. She is a boss & such a smart business woman & despite the drama as of late, she has handled growing up in stardom pretty well. But, you know what, even with the drama as of late, I’m totally cool with her diss songs & not taking the high road. Sometimes you just need to be a bitch & own it. If you mess with her, she won’t just keep taking it. Good for her for clapping back! I get very defensive about my girl Tay Tay.

And you know what, she is going to keep dating guys. At some point there may be a break up (no offense Joe). She may dance with someone at a party. She will throw 4th of July bbqs & won’t invite certain people. No matter what she does people will talk because she’s an A-lister. But she’s also just a girl & us girls go through some shit but we shouldn’t stop living our lives because of the haters. They’re just gonna hate hate hate hate & what are we going to do?

She is also so herself now. She has grown into her personality, as all of us 20 somethings must do, & is unapologetically who she is. She is obsessed with cats. She is an awkward dancer. She loves network cable shows. She goes to Starbucks with her squad of model friends. Celebs… they’re just like us.

The thing I love about her most is her ability to express her feelings through her lyrics. She gave a little speech on that during her show that made me 100% cry. To paraphrase, it went something like this;

“It means so much to me that you guys will let yourselves feel & be vulnerable with me & everyone else in this huge place. I write songs about some really hard things & we are all admitting that we feel that even if it’s not always cool & we are all screaming the words & not letting anyone ruin it.”

That’s not what she said exactly but it’s pretty much what she said. I’m sure the friends I went with, or anyone else that saw a show along the tour, can vouch for me.

But yes people we all have feelings & they are sometimes labeled as fake or pathetic or childish. I love Tay because she’s been understanding my feelings since I was 15… it’s been 13 years… if you get it, you get it. Boys break my heart & girls get mean & things change & life comes at you & it is literally always like that. She has been singing about my struggles the whole time & whether her story behind a song is the same as mine or not (let’s be honest, it’s def not because the boy I dated as a teen did not have the last name Jonas), the sentiment is there. She gets me through some tough times.

If I think back on each album of hers & what it meant to me, I can pinpoint who was in my life & what the source of my heart break was & what it was that kept me going. There is more or a less a boy’s name attached to each one (sadly they aren’t John Mayer or Jake Gyllenhaal). If you think you’re one of the lucky winners & are curious about your prize, slide into my DMs.

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