"I think it’s far better to be embarrassed than regretful." Insightful teenager.
I kept trying to write something here about how much the following means to me, but nothing was good enough for it.
My name is S–, I am 17 years old, and I just finished reading your book “Notes to Boys.” I came across your book in Barnes and Noble a couple of days ago, and picked it up as a joke to show my friend, who is just as boy crazy as I am. I ended up reading the Introduction, and knew I had to buy it. I think we’re pretty similar, although I’m not sure if I’m more like you, or little you. In all honesty, I think I lean more towards the LP side, but I wouldn’t really call that a bad thing. I am extremely sentimental, I love boys (even though they don’t love me), I want a movie-like romance more than I want a lot of things, music is one of the most important things in my world, and all I’m ever doing when I’m not reading is writing. Although, as opposed to LP, I find myself writing more angry “why don’t you love me??????” poems than longing ones. Anyway, after finishing your book I just wanted to say a couple of things. First, it’s really not as bad as you think (unless it is, and I don’t realize because I’m still a teenager, and if that is the case then I’m sorry, but I’m sure I’m in the same boat, it’s okay). More importantly, though, thank you for putting yourself out there like that, and I don’t just mean through sharing your love letters, but I mean through sharing your life experiences. I didn’t know what to expect from a comedy book, but things got really real at some points, and I loved it. I learned a lot from you, and I think you’re truly amazing. You’ve even inspired me. In the book you talked about a woman who came up to you and told you that you inspired her to get rid of all of her old journals. You had the opposite affect on me. I love my journals, and my writing, and how strongly I feel, and how deeply I love. After reading your book, I’m inspired in the sense that I refuse to ever be sorry for how I feel, or have felt. I think it’s far better to be embarrassed than regretful. I would much rather speak my mind and not be reciprocated than not say a word and never know what could have been. I know that all sounds really cheesy and has been said a million times, with 500,000 having been me, but I really mean it. I could get more in depth, but that would make this messy and hard to follow, and this message is already pretty long. Let’s just leave it at: thank you, Pam, you helped me realize something very important.
Thanks for reading (and for writing),
P.S. Admittedly, I’m pretty upset that I have the invention of the Internet, at least from a writing stand point. I mean, I have a bunch of journals in addition to a blog, but I want boxes of torn out notebook pages to keep forever and laugh at when I’m older. I may just have to put in the effort of writing everything I’ve typed. Like I said, I’m really sentimental like that.
P.P.S. I tried really hard to find a P.O. Box for you so that I could write out a letter to you to send, but e-mail works too.
P.P.P.S. I realized while reading your book that P.S. stands for postscript. I was amazed.
(She and I have been emailing since I received this letter, and she continues to be way cooler than I ever was at her age.)
You know how every year we do some sort of fundraiser for Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa in hopes of getting my taxidermied boar head canonized by the Pope? Well, I was just thinking that now that we have a new, slightly-less-creepy Pope, James Garfield might finally have a chance at sainthood. But then I started looking at Hanukkah and turns out it ends day after tomorrow. I yelled at several Jewish friends for not letting me know this earlier and they apologized, saying “Um…we’re busy with Hanukkah, bitch. Maybe get a fucking calendar.” And one of them said something in Yiddish that I think translates to “YOU SHOULD LAUGH WITH LIZARDS“, which is an actual real insult and makes me want to take Yiddish classes.
Regardless, if you’ve been here long enough you probably know all about (or were a part of) The Many Miracle(s) of James Garfield. The first came in 2010 when we all accidentally came together to raise over $42k to help get presents for kids who would not have otherwise gotten any. It was awesome, and the next year tons of people who were helped in the past asked if we could do it again because now they were back on their feet and wanted to pass on the gift they’d received, but I couldn’t do it because I was so exhausted from running it that I got really sick. Sorry. I’m too shitty to be successfully philanthropic. So instead, in 2011 we decided to help Project Night Night, a program that donates over 25,000 free packages to homeless children (containing a new security blanket, a book, a stuffed animal and a tote bag) every year. With our help they were able to donate the 750 packages they needed to hit all of the kids on their December list. And in 2012 we donated a shitload of oxen to India (which seems weird, but awesome) and helped Project Night Night hit their goal of getting packages to 1,427 children affected by Hurricanes.
This year we’re going to switch it up and give 1,427 oxen to small children. Or maybe we’ll just do what we did last year again. Because homeless kids being trampled by oxen seems slightly less festive.
It’s crazy simple to donate. An entire package for Project Night Night only costs $20. Plus, you can donate packages as presents in the name of all the people that you don’t want to send real gifts too. Or you can donate bees in the name of people you don’t like. For real. It’s probably the worst present ever. ”For Christmas I bought you a big bag of angry bees. Happy holidays, asshole.” Except the bees go to needy people who’ll actual use them for pollination and honey and stuff. But you could probably put one live bee in the “I donated in your name” envelope if you wanted to. Or just put poison on the card. Whatever. I’m not here to judge you.
Want to donate? Of course you do. Just click here and you can donate directly to Project Night Night or here to donate to Heifer. I’m starting it off by donating a llama in your name. Yes, you. I also bought 20 Project Night Night bags in your name in case you can’t afford to donate this year.
PS. Don’t sweat it if you can’t afford to donate this year. You can always share the Project Night Night page online or with friends to help spread the word. Every little bit counts.
PPS. I’m ccing the Pope on this one. I’m pretty sure he needs to know about this shit.
Happy holidays, you guys. Thank you for being awesome. You are worth ALL the llamas.
PPPS. I have a ton of James Garfield holiday cards in my desk. I’ll pick a bunch of people to randomly send them to in the comments. Just leave a comment letting me know something nice you’re doing for someone else, if you can.
PPPPS. Just a small update: The Project Night Night folks emailed to tell me they received over $12,700 in donations in just the first day this post was up and donations are still flowing in. They wanted to say thank you and so do I. I don’t say it enough…I so adore you people. Thank you for letting me be part of this amazing community.
PPPPPS. Just got an email from the very surprised Heifer people, who said to say thanks and that “the spike in numbers from your website was really impressive to the tune of more than 1K visitors and over $4K worth of bees!” BEST ANGRY BEE CHRISTMAS EVER!
Shockingly, people are upset that I'm not the gay best friend of their dreams.
If you're famous, then you probably have fans. Fans like to send fan letters, but not all fan letters are created equal. Some letters are simply better than others, and this sexual fan letter that Bryan Cranston received, which he reads out-loud on Conan? It's fan-tas-tic.
Okay. This isn’t a funny post so feel free to skip it. I just need to know something and I need you to tell me the truth rather than just make me feel better, so please be honest.
I realize that I’ve accomplished a lot in life and deep-down I know that, but it doesn’t change the fact that I only have a few days a month where I actually felt like I was good at life. I know I’m a good person (as in “not evil or intentionally arsonistic”), but I’m not very good at being a person. I don’t know if that makes sense and it’s not me fishing for compliments. Please don’t tell me the things I’m good at because that’s not what this is about. It’s just that at the end of each day I usually lie in bed and think, “Shit. I’m fucking shit up. I accomplished nothing today except the basics of existing.” I feel like I’m treading water and that I’m always another half-day behind in life. Even the great things are overshadowed by shame and anxiety, and yes, I realize a lot of this might have to do with the fact that I have mental illness, but I still feel like a failure more often than I feel like I’m doing well.
My pride that Hailey is the best speller in her class is overshadowed by the embarrassment that I don’t have the energy to be a PTA mom. I’m happy my first book was so successful, but I suffer with writer’s block so much that I’m always sure I’ll never write again and that I’ll never finish my second book. I feel like from the outside looking in I seem successful and happy, but I can’t help but think that if people looked closer they’d see the cracks and the dirt and shame of a million projects that never get done.
Part of this is me. I have depression and anxiety and a number of personality disorders that make it hard for me to see myself correctly. Part of it is that I judge myself by the shiny, pretty people I see at Parent-Teacher meetings, or on Facebook, or on Pintrest who seem to totally have their shit together and never have unwashed hair. They never wait until Thursday night to help their kid with the entire week’s homework. They don’t have piles of dusty boxes in corners waiting to be opened from the move before last. They have pretty, pastel lives, and they are happy, and they own picnic baskets and napkins and know how to recycle, and they never run out of toilet paper or get their electricity turned off. And it’s not even that I want to be one of those people. I fucking hate picnics. If God wanted us to eat on the ground he wouldn’t have invented couches. I just don’t want to feel like a failure because my biggest accomplishment that day was going to the bank.
I just need an honest assessment to see if this is just me (and if I need to just find a way to change, or to increase my meds) or if this is just normal and people just don’t talk about it.
Please tell me the truth (anonymous answers are fine). How many days in a month do you actually feel like you kicked ass, or were generally a successful person? What makes you feel the worst? What do you do to make yourself feel more successful?
Please be honest. Because I’m about to be.
I feel successful 3-4 days a month. The other days I feel like I’m barely accomplishing the minimum, or that I’m a loser. I have imposter syndrome so even when I get compliments they are difficult to take and I just feel like I’m a bigger fraud than before. I feel the worst when I get so paralyzed by fear that I end up cowering in bed and fall further and further behind. To make myself feel more successful I spend real time with my daughter every day, even if it’s just huddling under a blanket and watching Little House on the Prairie reruns on TV. I also try to remind myself that most of idols struggled as well, and that this struggle might make me stronger, if it doesn’t destroy me.
I’m hoping that by writing and posting this it will make me face this head-on and make some changes, either by forcing myself to change the way I see success, or by forcing myself to get shit done and stop feeling such dread and anxiety every day. I’m hoping that I’ll get hints from you guys about what you do to feel like a good, successful person, or what you avoid that I can try to avoid it as well. I’m hoping to stop the voices in my head. At least the ones who don’t like me very much.
PS. For those of you who are new here, I’m already doing cognitive therapy and I’m already on a lot of drugs for anxiety, depression and ADD, but I’m really fine. Honestly. I just want to be better. I’m just struggling with being human and I could use some pointers. My guess is that a lot of us could.
PPS. When things get bad this song helps me. It might help you too. Put on your headphones.
PPPS. The Oxford Dictionary says the word “arsonistic” doesn’t exist, but it totally does. It’s the same thing as being artistic, but instead of being sensitive to or good at art, you’re just really good at arson. Then again, this is is the same dictionary that just added “twerk.” I question everything now.
PPPPS. Sorry. This post is all over the place. My ADD drugs haven’t kicked in yet. I’m failing at writing a post about how I’m failing. I think I’ve just set a record. A bad one.
Hi. Are you here for the giveaway of super-cheap things that make me happy? It’s over here. You should probably go there now because I’m about to start saying shitty things about babies.
So, the royal baby was just born and I know this because I’m alive and on twitter and so I’m forced to know way too much about The Duchess of Windsor’s successfully expanded vagina. I’m very happy for them that they have a baby because that’s awesome if you’re into that sort of thing, but I totally don’t understand the fervor of people wanting to see pictures of the royal baby so desperately. It’s not a spider monkey or a slow loris. It’s not a hedgehog taking a bath or a cat playing the keyboard. It’s a fucking baby, y’all. They look like babies. I realize that I’m in the minority at not wanting to see famous babies (or really any babies) and I think that says something about me. Something bad probably. But I can’t help it. Babies look pretty much exactly alike except in slightly different shades. It’s like when people want me to look at their new car and I’m like, “Oh. I thought that was your old car” and they get all pissy because I didn’t recognize that it’s slightly more bronze and has heated seats. Honestly, I can’t even pick my own car out of the parking lot. I’m forever trying to open doors of cars that don’t belong to me and the car alarm goes off and I have to run away before I get arrested because there are too many brown cars in America.
This is not to say that I don’t want to see your baby. I mean, I don’t want to see your baby, but I totally want to see how happy you are to show me your baby and that’s a good thing and I love it. Feel free to show me your baby. But frankly you could be showing me pictures of some famous baby and I’d still react exactly the same way because I can’t tell them apart. It’s like I have face blindness, but for babies. If there was a Pepsi challenge of babies I would fail it every time.
And this is not me just being selfish. My baby looked like everybody else’s baby too and when I’d take her to daycare I’d doodle pictures of angry cats on her foot so that I could be sure that they gave me back the right baby at the end of the day. Because I couldn’t be trusted to recognize my own baby.
There might be something wrong with me.
PS. Also, I’m feeling totally inferior because Will and Kate whatever-their-last-name-is had a town crier in full costume to announce their kid’s arrival and I barely handed out birth announcements. In my defense though I sometimes scream my exciting news down the street when I’ve had too much to drink, although I almost never get lauded for my home-made patriotism, unless “lauded” is code for “threatened with” and “home-made patriotism” is code for “public intoxication charges”.
PPS. This would scare the shit out of me if I was a baby. Also, I’m pretty sure some of the pins on his cape are from DisneyLand. I could be wrong.
PPPS. In all sincereness? Congratulations, England. Your new baby is awesome and probably already has more twitter followers than me. Keep him away from the town crier because I’m pretty sure that man could unhinge his jaw and inhale a baby whole. Better safe than sorry.
Archaeologists in Poland believe they have found a vampire grave near the town of Gilwice in southern Poland. The skeletons were found with their heads removed and placed between their legs — a ritualistic practice designed to keep the dead from rising up.
Me: I’m having a nervous breakdown.
Friend: I’ll bring the wine.
I’m not sure which wine pairs best with a nervous breakdown, but at this point I don’t really care, because wine. That seems like a sentence fragment but it’s not. ”Because wine” is a full sentence and is also an answer to just about anything you could ever ask. ”Why should I leave my house?” ”Why am I crying at an insurance commercial?” ”Why do my cats all have mustaches drawn on them?” BECAUSE WINE.
In fact…why does this post exist? Because wine.
And also because I’ve been fighting through a bitch of a wave of depression for the last several weeks and I’ve been slogging through the days and going through the motions and waiting for this shit to finally break. I’ve been forcing myself to leave the house as much as I can and congratulating myself for showering and moving and breathing, but it’s still hard as hell. I’m not alone. In the last few weeks I’ve gotten tons of comments and emails and tweets from people all feeling equally helpless. And that sucks. It sucks for them, and it sucks for me and it sucks for every person out there who can’t just fix us. There is, however, one bright point about getting those messages from others sailing their own rough waters…I can – without doubt- tell them that depression is lying to them and that things will get better. And then I have to admit that the same thing applies to me…even though at the time I’m fairly sure my emotions are dead forever.
And then, just as quickly as it came, it starts to lift. Yesterday I felt human again for almost two hours. It’s amazing how much you’re missing in a depressive state until you start to come out on the other side. It’s like breathing again after being underwater for far too long. The depression is back again now but I had an hour this morning when I was me again. And a few minutes ago I called a friend to come over to visit. That sounds like a stupid, small thing, but it’s not. It’s big. It’s huge.
When I’m in a depression I want to write about it, but I usually can’t. I’m too overwhelmed and paralyzed and exhausted. I end up writing 100 angsty drafts that never see daylight and I convince myself that no one cares. It’s not true. People care. They care about me and they care about you. If you’re feeling alone, you aren’t. Millions of people struggle with suicide and depression and mental illness. We keep taking pills. We keep talking to shrinks. We keep each other alive. We remind ourselves that depression lies. We keep breathing. And eventually the clouds metaphorically part and – as if by magic – we get a blast of normalcy and remember how amazingly wonderful it can be to feel life instead of suffer from it.
Yesterday I started feeling life again, and it felt wonderful. And I’m writing this to remind myself that it does pass, and that the miasma surrounding you now won’t always cling to you. It will pass for me and it will pass for you.
Keep breathing. Keep living. You are worth it.
PS. This seems unrelated and maybe it is but I’m including it anyway because wine. A few years ago my blog posts were peppered with humorous stories about my severe rheumatoid arthritis. I’d be bedridden for weeks at a time. I was in and out of hospitals. I spent most vacations in a wheelchair. It took many years and lots of different meds and doctors before they finally found the particular drug that cured my symptoms. It isn’t perfect and it’s crazy expensive and involves a lot of injections and constant work, but (knock on wood) I haven’t been in a wheelchair in over a year. I had started to think that my whole life would just be random weeks of pain and that I’d end up hobbled and miserable, but then we found that one drug that worked for me. And if there’s a drug out there that could save me physically then I have to believe that one day there will be one that could save me mentally.
I’m holding out for that miracle. Stay here and keep me company.
PPS. If you’ve found something that works for you, feel free to share it. For me, it’s music. This song has been on replay for me all week and it helps. Maybe it’ll help you too.
For a year or two in the early aughts, Flickr was every photographer’s favorite corner of the Internet. Not only was it the friendliest, prettiest, most useful and accessible place to store your images; it was also a thriving community. Flickr’s inventors understood what its users wanted, and its users cheered on the creators. It was a place where everyone felt they had a stake in building a novel way for people to share their creativity online.
I've lost interest in Phoenix Jones over the last year or so as he's just gotten more stupid-ridiculous than funny-ridiculous.
He may not be able to fly or stop bullets, but this masked man is out to fight crime and keep the fair denizens of Seattle safe.
Produced & Directed by Kitty Bolhoefer and Fridolin Schoepper. Edited by Konterfei. Music by Carlos Bruck.
They meet more people in an afternoon than most of us do in a year. But what faux pas do human resources pros see again and again during the interview process? We picked the brains of two high-profile executives to find out what you definitely should and shouldn't say, as well as what they secretly think of your résumé.
Well, this is a bit ridiculous.
These 7 States Ban Anyone Who Is Atheist From Holding A Public Office.
Also, I should start a cake delivery company.
This cat = me trying to actually get work done.
This weasel = my brain trying to destroy me:
Me: I have work to do.
Weasel: You should check the internet because remember yesterday when that one person on the internet was wrong and it made you so mad, but not actually mad enough to register to leave a comment. Go see if someone else left a comment calling them out.
me: No. I don’t care.
Weasel: LIAR. And check your blog because there might be a secret comment from Doctor Who asking you to go time-traveling with him.
me: That’s not...possible.
weasel: You hesitated. You totally think it’s possible. Quick – check twitter.
weasel: Just once. And check your replies. And check that girl you hate. And check that girl you want to be more like. And check that girl who used to be on that show who’s totally crazy now and is posting insane shit that you can’t look away from.
me: No. I don’t remember her name.
Weasel: Then IMDB her. And then IMDB all the Anchorman quotes. And then go look up all the trivia on the Mythbusters site. And then go see if you were right about how many times the Vulcan mind-meld was used in the last movie.
me: I already know it was two.
Weasel: Victor says you’re wrong.
me: UGH. Fine. I’ll just look that one thing up, but then we work.
**FIVE HOURS LATER.**
Weasel: And those are all the ways in which you can die in a Disney park. Now let’s wikipedia the most unusual ways to die ever.
me: NO. I HAVE REAL WORK TO DO AND I HAVE TO-oh my God, someone died from being smothered in cloaks? Is that for real?
Weasel: WIKIPEDIA IS ALWAYS RIGHT. NOW CHECK PINTREST. SUPERHEROES DOING FUNNY THINGS. CATS IN BOXES. OPEN YOUTUBE. SOMEONE IS FALLING IN A FUNNY WAY AND YOU’RE MISSING IT.
me: SHUT UP. SHUT UP. I NEED TO WORK.
Weasel: What if someone just found a Sasquatch? Quick – check the news.
me: STOP IT.
Weasel: Checking the news is mature. It is immature to not keep a news website up all the time to keep up with breaking news. WHAT IF THERE IS A FIRE MADE OF OGRES?
me: You have a point. Sort of.
Weasel: Breaking news. Someone called Kim Kardashian fat. See if you think she looks fat.
me: I DON’T CARE IF SHE LOOKS FAT. I’VE NEVER EVEN SEEN ”THE KARDASHIANS”. I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEM.
Weasel: You should probably see if their show is on netflix. That seems like a big pop culture reference you probably need to know about.
me: NO. NO MORE TV.
Weasel: Knowing pop culture is part of your job. Just bookmark it for later.
Weasel: Ooh! There’s a new “Bob’s Burgers”! If you don’t watch it it will go off the air and it will be all your fault and then it’s “Arrested Development” all over again. Just leave it running in another window while you work.
Weasle: It’ll be one thing you can check off your to do list.
me: FINE. But I’m only doing it while I answer emails.
Weasel: Your computer just froze. You can’t run that many things at once. Go watch regular TV and eat a bunch of cake with your hands.
me: No. This is a sign that I need to stop watching tv on my computer. WORK, DAMMIT.
Weasel: You sound stressed. You totally need cake.
me: I DON’T HAVE ANY CAKE. SHUT UP.
Weasel: You should get some cake. Can you order cakes like you order pizza? Is that a thing?
me: I have no idea. But it should totally be a thing.
Weasel: OMG, THAT SHOULD BE OUR NEW BUSINESS. GO BUY “IWANTSOMECAKELIKEYESTERDAY.COM”.
**FIVE HOURS LATER**
me: What am I doing? I don’t even know how to cook.
Weasel: I think it’s called “baking” when you do it with flour.
me: I’m pretty sure it’s called “cooking” no matter what.
Weasel: You should look it up on the internet. Hey, did you know it’s 3am?
me: I hate you so much.
I sort of already hate myself from weighing in on this but people keep asking me to tweet about it and forward their petitions, and I really thought it would quiet down by now but it hasn’t, so I’m going to give my big, fat, stupid, irrelevant and probably wrong opinion on the changes Disney made from the original I-might-trust-her-to-babysit-my-kid-when-she’s-a-little-older Merida to get-the-fuck-away-from-my-husband Merida.
There are all sorts of calls to action to get Disney to admit that the new Merida looks a bit skanky and they’ve met with some success and that’s awesome. Go team. I hope you succeed. But (in my opinion – stop yelling at me) the majority of people do not give a shit. Mostly because we’re busy personally teaching our kids what strong women look like instead of letting Disney do it for us. And in a way, Disney did us a favor here. Did you have a talk with your kid about the new Merida? Because if you didn’t you missed a good opportunity to see where your kid stands on this, and to talk to them about over-sexualization.
I showed the new Merida to my eight-year-old and she assumed that it was Merida’s evil twin. Which actually would make an awesome story, and personally I plan to tell stray children I see buying backpacks with the new Merida on them that the original Merida was eaten by the new Evil Merida because she was so hungry. And they will probably believe it because seriously, look at her waist…the girl needs a damn sandwich.
Anyway, my incredibly dumb and probably ill-informed point is that it’s really uncomfortable to see a strong, child-like character get tarted up and flash bedroom eyes at you, but it’s equally sucky to rely on a giant corporation to teach your kids what strong women look like. Strong women look like Amelia Earhart, Rosie the Riveter, Asmaa Mahfouz, or Elizabeth Smart. Or Wonder Woman, or Sally Ride or Sojourner Truth, or Amy Poehler, or Ada Lovelace, or Anne Frank. Or your grandmother.
I support and admire the men and women who speak out in the cause of feminism, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are so many amazing women who may never end up on a lunch box (Wonder Woman and Word Girl excluded) but who can make a great difference in the life and perceptions of our sons and daughters.
Okay. Your turn. Who’s your favorite female hero?
PS. There aren’t any right or wrong answers here. It’s totally okay to like pretty dresses and sexy princesses. It’s totally okay not to. No judgment. Probably.
Well, THIS is terrifying. Kudos to the guy for continuing to do the river tours.
Am I going to try this? Are you kidding?? OF COURSE I AM
It appears that you can make delicious (and fantastically high-carb) bread by mixing melted ice-cream with self-rising flour and baking it. I'm willing to believe that this is totally yummy but I'm not going to try it:
1 Preheat oven to 350 F
2 Let ice cream soften at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
4 Evenly distribute sprinkles in the bottom of a greased Bundt pan and scoop batter evenly on top.
5 Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6 Invert and allow to cool completely.
Yes, I realize I just published a new blog post 12 hours ago but I’m posting again because I just found a website that changes your fonts INTO CATS. Say goodbye to the rest of your week because…
Also, it’s Friday night and this is the highlight of my whole weekend.
I really need to get out more.
I’ve made rules that I’m trying to implement in my life. Want to see them? Probably not. But here they are anyway:
1. Don’t be shitty.
2. Don’t make happy people sad.
3. Don’t make sad people sadder.
4. If more than two people tell you that you’re being an asshole, consider that maybe you’re being an asshole.
5. Flush the toilet behind you. You’re grossing us all out.
6. Support the under-dog.
7. Critics aren’t automatically bullies and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you ignore all of them out of hand. That being said, it sucks to read shitty stuff about yourself so find an honest friend to read your criticism and tell you if it’s something worth listening to or if the critic is just a crazy fucking douche-canoe.
8. Real bullies are complete assholes but they can’t recognize themselves as such so maybe spray paint an “x” on their forehead so that we can all just recognize them from a distance and ignore them.
9. Be stupid. Be childlike. Be ridiculous. Be happy.
10. Don’t use the word “literally” when you really mean “figuratively”. It literally makes me want to stab you a little but I don’t do it because that’s illegal and also because I have a very limited amount of knives.
11. Read more. Watch shows that inspire you. Embrace whatever makes you geek out. Even if it’s Laura Ingalls. Because Laura Ingalls is fascinating and there’s nothing wrong with obsessively knowing every detail about her life and death. Stop judging me.
12. Bite off more than you can chew. You can always spit it out on the floor if you decide you don’t like it. Women do it all the time.
12b. Embrace your flaws and foibles. If people make fun of you, kick them in the back and then blame it on a ghost.
14. Don’t let other people on the internet tell you what to do. Unless it’s this list. Then I guess just use your best judgement.
15. Become a pirate. Or a monster truck. Or a space toddler. Or a jacket. That’s my favorite one. I just jump on someone’s back and say “Sorry. You looked cold. Zip me up.” It’s awesome.
16. Do something nice for someone you love.
17. Do something nice for a perfect stranger.
18. Do something nice for you.
19. Do ‘The Robot’.
20. Add your own. Go ahead. You can’t fuck this up any more than I have.
Confession: I squirrel away the good candy. And I hoard post-its.
I’ve started a new screenwriting job that has me working at an office.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of corporate culture. I worried it had been too long since I worked business hours with normal people, having co-workers who didn’t have tails or wear diapers. I worried not for me, but for them. It’s been a very long time since going to work means I have to put on pants.
Sure, I had the regular meetings where I have to look nice for an hour or two. This transformation always shocks my mother. I exit my bedroom wearing clothes not meant for stretching or sleeping, and Mom always does a double-take. “You look nice,” she says.
One time I came out wearing something like a cardigan over a top, a skirt and platform heels with ankle socks. Before I could stop myself I asked her, “How do I look?”
Mom took a second, giving me the head-to-toe. I saw it in her eyes, the internal struggle. Half of her wanted to find a compliment when she didn’t have one, the other half feverishly urging her to give me some much-needed advice. “You look…” she started, before biting her lip, as if she needed to physically stop herself from the rest of her sentence. She finally sighed, her shoulders dropping. “Like Pam,” she finished.
“Best I can hope for,” I replied.
I worried I’d be too Like Pam at the new job, that I’d be this sloppy freelancer climbing the walls, sitting on the floor for that perfect writing position, the one that hurts every part of your body but somehow forces the words to come. I was sure they’d all know I’d spent years writing on couches and beds, on trains and airplanes — anywhere that wasn’t a desk with an ergonomically adjusted chair. They’d know I was basically feral.
But it turns out whatever I’d forgotten during the months I spent at Warner Brothers, the years I put in at IBM long ago gave me just-like-riding-a-bike skills when it came to fitting in with corporate culture.
I admit the first week I was a bit rusty. I’d forgotten how to greet someone when you enter an elevator. (“Is it Friday yet?”) It had been a long time since I needed five people to get my computer on the network and able to print. At least I hadn’t forgotten how I wasn’t allowed to hang a picture or plug in a lamp by myself– both of those jobs are union jobs, and those guys do not want you doing their job. And while I now remember the importance of carrying cash for coffee runs, I still keep forgetting to bring a water bottle for the break room cooler.
But last Friday I heard myself asking someone, “Big weekend plans?” and that’s when I knew I had gotten my corporate sea legs. Soon I was making Monday jokes with the best of them. Jokes like, “Guess I’ll get the big coffee today.”
It’s amazing how quickly I acclimated. Yesterday, I ended a conversation in the hallway with, “Well, I’ll let you get back to work.” I’m chuckling at those crazy morning zoo guys on my drive in. You bet I’ve already picked my favorite flavor at the Keurig machine. Sometime this week I will get my badge.
And then the change will be complete. I’ll start scheduling meetings to talk about other meetings and I’ll make jokes about things like “hump day.” I’ll grow pale from the lack of natural light, and keep threatening to use that gym in the building. I’ll have a candy jar. A candy drawer. Another candy drawer that’s a secret, where I give my favorite people “the good candy,” but the truth is they all get the good candy, but I make each one of them think only he or she knows about my secret stash. And then I’ll have another candy drawer, one that is a secret, because it’s just for me and it’s filled with Doritos and shame-spiral brownies. That’s right; my secret candy stash has no candy. That’s the secret.
I’ll hoard Post-Its and the good pens and I’ll tell anyone who will listen that I know Peter on the second floor is the one who keeps taking my greek yogurts. He’s not even Greek. I will develop a deep, soul-burning hate for the girl on the first floor who is really into cycling. I will hate her for no other reason than I pass her on my way to my desk and the sound of her voice hits this nerve that makes me want to run off a cliff. I will keep a pair of tennis shoes in my big drawer, where they will stay, untouched, for years.
I will finally organize my Facebook friends by groups. My Pinterest is going to blow your fucking minds.
If I’m not at my desk, it’s because I’m singing Happy Birthday to someone, somewhere in the building, right at that moment. I’m smiling even though I’m standing next to that guy who always has to do the harmony with his eyes closed, and I will insist that I shouldn’t have a piece this time, but I will eat it. And then I will eat another. I will take a third back to my desk, where I will force someone else to eat it, so that we’re all in this together. Because we’re all in this together. Where are you going?!
I will go to Target and I will buy a small rug, a small stool, and a lovely plant. These additions to my office will make me smugly satisfied for exactly three days, when I then realize how little it takes to make me feel emotions again, and then I will plummet into a dark hole of depression and I will shut my office door with a sign taped to it that reads: “Sorry. Having a :( day.”
I have an unsent email to my work crush that stays on my desktop for six months.
I start sneaking bourbon into every third cup of Keurig. Then every other one. Then I’ll drop the coffee part, because it’s getting in the way. I’ll sometimes sleep at the office, in that one room by the printer room that used to be the yoga room. Just because it’s nice to sleep somewhere else sometimes. I’ll keep watering that dead plant on the small stool because maybe it will come back to life. Maybe all hope isn’t lost. It can’t be dead because then it would be my fault — unless someone came in here and poisoned my plant because everybody here hates me. They don’t really know me. They’re all new and nobody’s bothered to get to know me. I’ve been here forever, I probably have some good advice, if they’d listen. But nobody cares what I have to say. I’m sorry I don’t watch The Voice. I didn’t know that was the passport to Coolville.
I join Linked In. I leave cryptic Facebook status updates like, “Some people need to know when it’s time to shut up.” I get another cat. I stop spending a second deciding which wine I want to drink at night, because it all tastes the same after three glasses.
I finally watch The Voice. It’s not that bad.
I was locked in an exam room at my optometrist’s office, and I was about to join hands with two technicians and the doctor while they forced me to pray to Jesus.
Something something a little short something something.