Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Psycho Babble

Yesterday I called The Mother on three separate occasions, only to be unknowingly answered each time by her butt, Douchetooth, or any of the other technological advances we've devised to bi-pass the highly inconvenient human task of answering the phone by pushing a button. At any rate, each time one of these intervening factors connected my phone to her purse or whatever, I became an anonymous ear to her very intense, very uncomfortable, very PUBLIC conversation. A conversation that included such gems as "I don't think that's very appropriate for you to say, do you?" and "I'll let you think about what you just said before I speak again."




I don't often eavesdrop on other people's conversations. Ok, I don't often eavesdrop on other people's boring conversations, especially if they're not about a) me; b) someone I know getting pregnant or; c) a couple breaking up publicly on a Metra train. But I couldn't help it. I wasn't even eavesdropping. I was researching.


The Mother has never been shy around conflict. She used to tell my brother and I to wave to the nice man tailing our car before slowing down enough to let him get a good view of her prized finger. She's not mean. She's not angry. She just don't take no shit.


Which is why, after deciding that it was not my fault that her phone answered THREE DIFFERENT TIMES to the same rolling argument, I continued to listen to the woman from whose womb I sprung verbally pwn two unsuspecting instigators. I sat in awe in front of Starbucks, wondering just how the fuck someone learns to stick to their shit that hard. Wondering if I'd ever have the conviction to tell someone as close but not close enough that, quite frankly, your talk is bullshit. And I'm leaving.


The thing about how The Mother asserts herself is in its effectiveness. Over the years, she has honed the skill of pointing out the complete assholery in which the offending party is engaging -- calmly, assertively, effectively. The problem is it really pisses people off when you go all Ghandi on their asses in an argument. Add some big words and a valid point and you've got me at 15 trying to argue why I just HAVE TO HAVE A CAR THE SECOND I TURN 16. Or, a really pissed off offending party in an argument no one knows is being studied like a college final, from a car 10 miles away.


Ok, let's get real here. Of course my own mother and I didn't always argue like "Molly, I believe the capacity at which you expect what you want to be validated is a little grand;" to which I'd respond "GAAAAAAAHHH!!!! (wall punch)." No. It didn't go like that. We threw chairs at walls and hit our beds with tennis rackets and stuff. We called each other names and I ran away a few times. It's called adolescence, folks. And the [terrifying, at this vantage point] task of parenthood.


But what those arguments, and the ones I witnessed her have with others, taught me about being a woman is the strength it takes. I learned early and I learned quick how to decide my point, articulate it, and not to back down when the going gets going. I'm not a cold-hearted bitch; I learned compassion, too. I learned how to hold my ground but how to communicate effectively enough to find a middle ground. The Mother taught me how to be A Woman and someday how to be A Mother in my own right. I can talk to ComEd with the tongue of a Medusa and woo cops with the eyes of a martyr. I know how shit works. And I owe the model of womanly strength to the one that calls me every single morning to tell me what just happened on It's Always Sunny.


But look, here's the thing. I'm kind of tired of being strong. I'm a little over telling ComEd they can suck their mistaken surcharge in one hand while forking over the cash in the other. I'm tired of telling the man at the gas station that actually yes, I do find your comments horribly sexist and offensive so kindly fuck off. I'm bored of working so hard to show the world hey SHUT UP, I'm here and you better not mess with me motherfucker, because sometimes it's just so damn exhausting. I can understand the woman that wait their whole lives to tell their husbands they'd rather sleep with other women; or the ones that let their 40-year old sons live off their Jewel paycheck; or every single one that's let someone do something to them that they didn't like but never said so. I feel for you. Because sometimes, being strong is just as hard as being weak.


The rub is, being strong always pays off in the end. I may be tired of bringing home the bacon for my table of one, but I'd rather it than a table of four with much larger appetites. I'd rather lose friends that never got the message before the message gets me. And I'd always, always rather speak my own truth than let it be spoken to me. It pays to stick up for your shit, even if you have to make a few uncomfortable along the way. And even if that discomfort happens at your father-in-law's doctor appointment.




Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Evolution of Glitter

I had a Dr. Pepper today. For about 10 seconds I was 12 again, crinkling bags of Cheetos, drinking cans of the 23 flavors and eyeing a package of Skittles on standby. The afternoons I spent watching The Mother wrangle pre-teens into aprons and the concept of color theory were where I developed an affinity for vending machines and Einstein bagels. Also glitter, magic markers, and hitting my brother in the balls for fun. I feel bad about that one now.

I can't remember how many years The Mother taught at the studio. I don't think I could even calculate how many hours I spent wandering its rooms, making paper crafts and aggrandizing my skills with a calligraphy pen. Or otherwise scheming on how to capitalize my only airbrushing skill: spraying one area long enough for the tiny flecks of paint to accumulate and drip slowly down the page. So much for concept art.

Maybe it was the glitter. Maybe it was the haphazard shredding of stacks of construction paper. It could even have been that one time I became obsessed with the other kids' rich moms wearing pearls, and proceeded to sculpt several of the "fancy ladies" in various forms; both functional and "decorative." But now I think it was at the blessing of my shitty airbrushing hand that I'm here.


I'm a heavy-handed painter. When I say "layering," I mean that a painting usually takes three or four adjustments of a palette to finally start breathing. And a subsequent few months of tinkering before the paint starts to "lay right," as I like to justify it in terminology. So that still-not-sure-if-it's-offensive strip of canvas up there is the bones of what will--hopefully--become a fully-fledged "person," of sorts. And that's only if I don't decide to do something really EDGY AND CONTEMPORARY at the end. Remember that episode in Malcolm In The Middle when Hank becomes an artist? And then Jackson Pollack's all over the garage wall, only for the paint to come peeling right on top of his not-yet-Breaking-Bad-bald head? THAT'S what it's like. Though I've yet to encounter a paint-related assault. YET.

But at the end, there are times that I miss the points in the middle when the painting was still awkward, still out of proportion, still potentially racially offensive. Sometimes I regret not having documented what has been before it becomes what it is. I was just a kid obsessed with crayons and copy paper before now, right? And where the hell are THOSE pictures?

Some say that it's no good to dwell on the past. But I say that the past teaches us why we are in the present. I've wanted to do this forever, so I'm doing it. I'm documenting a painting. Just pray this one makes it past its black-face stage and we'll all get to see the end result. Stay tuned, eh?





Conversations with Siri

I didn't think English was my second language, but I guess Siri does. Way to make my mid-afternoon friend-love weird, Siri. THANKS A LOT.




Monday, January 28, 2013

Google Hates Me

An excerpt, from a recent journal entry:


What I was so fucked over I'm wise enough not to investigate in the preceding pages. But I do know this is not the only time I've ended what should be a self-clarifying and illuminating journal entry in a series of expletives that serve more to emphasize my increased confusion rather than a sudden "aha!" moment at the end of a good think. An activity I could similarly have enacted in large scale all over my own face this afternoon, when I ingested large quantities of my recent purchase, Blogging For Creatives.


It's a fantastic book, no doubt. I may even email the author with a virtual high five and a "thanks!" and a tiny "fuck!" scribbled in the corner for good measure. But I'm pretty sure my brain does not have the capacity for that much information at one time. Rather than lift the rock I feel myself hidden under in this project I've embarked upon called "blogging;" I'm fairly sure I've discovered a hole big enough to hide my words and I until the aliens go all Jurassic Park on our asses some millennia to come. What the fuck, Internet. What the fuck, Al Gore. What the fuck, population of 7 billion.


A point that was solidified most cosmically this afternoon when I resubmitted my claim to Google Adsense and was swiftly kicked to the binary curb a mere two hours later. REALLY, GOOGLE? My CONTENT does not meet your PROGRAM CRITERIA? What do I need to do, show you my cleve in a fuzzy Instagram picture claiming to show off my mad sartorial skills? Don't worry. When I publish my first book of essays on surviving a month without clean underwear, I'll be sure NOT to mention you in the credits.


It's moments like this--where I feel completely overwhelmed by what I am totally unsure of or don't know how to do--that I turn to that which I am comfortable. Case in point the paintings I've been working on recently. Painting is a realm in which I am comfortable, even when I want to rip the cloth into tiny shreds and light it on fire in the backyard. Painting is normal. Painting is fun. Painting is the light at the end.


Except when it's not.


A few months ago I let the desire to put brush to canvas dip so low that it became days and then weeks and then months before I ever motivated to do anything about it. You know how that goes? The longer you let something go the easier it is to continue not doing it. Like exercising. Hey Gaffigan--Law and Order really is sponsored by Nike!


I was talking to my scarapist a few weeks ago about it. And on the peak of the high that is psychiatric counseling, we both realized that it has been over a year since I last showed my work professionally. In like, a real gallery, and not just my living room or parent's basement. And then we both went "duh," I vowed to submit to a few upcoming shows, and the concept of being a visual artist went from dismally depressing to ecstatically exciting again. I had forgotten the key element in my process: the prospect of the work not being just an ego-stroking wall hanging, but a piece that invokes conversation and feedback from someone other than just Hank.

It's only when I slam my face against the pavement that I learn my lesson. I can't do anything entirely uncomfortable without resting in that which I'm already stable. And whoever is upstairs knows that I'm definitely not the stable one in this relationship. Just like I can't expect myself to keep painting if I know there's no one to tell me where I've fucked up and where I've struck gold, I can't expect myself to keep writing if I'm not extending my digital tentacles somewhere. Anywhere.


I submitted a few posts to a blog forum the other day. I also entered that giant red painting in an upcoming show. GASP. I don't know what will happen. I don't know if anything will happen. But I know it will help keep me going.


I also know that for whoever is reading out there, I really appreciate you. You're awesome. You make me giggle like a school girl buying her first thong. You also make me want to ask you to make it official. Will you like, subscribe to my blog? Maybe I'll let you see my fuzzy Instagram picture.


(And if you're wondering how to get in my pants, it's over there ---> in that little widgey thing. The one that says "follow" and stuff. Top right. Can't miss it. I might even check your box if you check mine. Have I become pathetic enough? God, I thought my days of begging for attention were over.)


Good night, Internets. Let's keep the spark alive.





Sunday, January 27, 2013

Martha Fucking Stewart

I love when I see this on pre-packaged foods. Because inside I'm like, in what world would I NOT eat half this package of chocolate chip cookie dough, on a Sunday night, in my sweatpants while watching you-know-what? NO WORLD THAT EVER EXISTED EVER.


Aside from shamefully purchasing pre-made cookie dough and maybe not cleaning my bathroom sink in like two months, it would appear that I've turned into Martha Fucking Stewart. I voluntarily picked up these frames the other day in a fit of domesticality and spent the next two hours finding the perfect artsy/aesthetically appropriate images to fill them with. I don't know what's happening to me.





If I you start noticing any DIY posts creeping into my repertoire, you can officially assume I've lost it. So I'm going to pretend this never happened and go back to eating my cookie dough and agonizing over the mediocrity that is this post. Also to watching an awkwardly un-funny Stifler play hockey in this movie called Goon. If this were a review post, I would give it 4 stars. Enough to warrant a review but not enough to be Moneyball. Maybe they should have seen what Brad Pitt was doing that day.


What else are Sundays for?



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Greater Than Or Equal To

Now I remember why it's been three years since I've subjected myself to the heavy-metal, cerebral torture that is Life Drawing. Figure drawing is like the art equivalent of calculus: mentally taxing, mostly conceptual, and only enjoyable to those that don't understand basic social cues.

Plus when it comes to those that take the genre seriously, I kind of suck.

But this is what I've got for today. Me and my brain hamster -- I think I'll start calling him "Hank" -- are embarking on a new project. It's called, "positivity," and it involves being fantastically happy for everyone of whom I would normally be jealous; and self-supportive of that which I would normally be self-deprecating.

Sounds fun, right? It feels pretty good, too. This is what I did today. And though I want to say "holy shit what a pile of shit," instead I will internally squeal, "great job, you! I know your feet are frozen to your socks and you can't feel your fingers, but you did it!"

In the words of Jim Gaffigan, "doo do do do doo do doo do doo do!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Unintentional Normalcy

I love newly-minted college art students. The archetype of a college art class never fails to fulfill the mold in its entirety, with the bulk of its form being made up of those gut-wrenchingly endearing weirdos. Those on a never-ending race to be the weirdest of the weird. The ones that started weird in High School and take it as an opportunity to capitalize on their weirdness, with the idea that whomsoever wears their cat ears or their black eyeliner the hardest becomes the actualization of that mentality. And in turn, art itself.


I worked for just such a class this afternoon. As a passive observer whose only job is to serve the community of weird, you get a lot of time to think about what you're watching -- even if the passivity is mandatory and the observing only comes from being observed.


College art classes aren't much different from any other class structure we try to pretend doesn't exist. The difference, though, is that those who are cast to the bottom of the loony barrel in psych study become those that reign Screwed Up Supreme in the art world. In the artist community it pays to be as silently brilliant as possible. Got a cape? You've got attention. Got a painting about how that cape symbolizes the seductively secretive nature of modern society and its unquestionably self-destructive tendencies thereafter? You've got an A+.


But isn't that the nature of our evolution? That pale, skinny guy who wore red sweatpants every day throughout High School becomes Steve Jobs. The freak chick way more interested in soil composites than social cues invents planet-saving geothermal technology at age 24. Egon Schiele spent 1/3 of his life in jail. By the time he died, at age 27, he had a portfolio that would take me a lifetime to complete -- some 200 odd paintings and 300 drawings -- all done in a span of approximately 5 years. Oh yeah, and he probably boinked his cousin or something.


I've claimed my fair share of weirdness in my day. I wore neon colors and got counted for 80's day during spirit week even when I didn't dress up. I made sculptures out of rocks I foraged outside during art class. I played the silent mysterious type in college, and even cried in some corners. But I was never -- as far as I'm aware -- considered a weirdo.


But now, so many years after the jokes stopped being made and the cheerleaders hung up their pom-poms, I'm scared to death that I'm way too normal for my own good.


I'm terrified that I haven't enough crazy in me to think anything that's not been thought already; but just enough to fear the white picket fence. I'm scared to death that while I've worked a lifetime at coming to some sort of peace within myself, or self-understanding, or therapy-whatever, that I've thought myself into a hole of contempt from which I'll never resurface. Sometimes I resent having my shit together, for the most part. Sometimes I resent not having a stint at homelessness, at hitch-hiking my way from New York to 'Frisco, at always paiying my bills on time and eating organic food in a time that says it's what the cool kids do. Sometimes I'm scared shitless that maybe, despite what you've read about my communiqué with mice, I'm normal as shit.


Because what do normal people do? And what is the pain that the abnormal suffer, if only for their art? Do I stand among the tortured that spill brilliance, or the mundane that create more of the same? I like to think there is some sort of middle ground. But sometimes, in a land of Steve Jobs and Sylvia Plath, I'm just not sure.

I guess all I can hold on to at the present moment is what I'm trying to let go of. And they are as follows:


1) A preoccupation with anything anyone else is doing, at any given moment, so as not to compare my in- and/or adequacies with said party;

2) Judgements of my self worth and;

3) An unhealthy addiction to Law and Order SVU via Netflix (damn you, you budget-permitting bastard!).


With these in the back of my mind, I'm trying not to think too hard about the rest. I'll try and turn my attentions towards what makes me happy, regardless of its genius or lack thereof.


And I'll try not to worry if this painting produced out of the aforementioned desire is racially offensive or not. Sue me for working on my color theory, ok? IT'S ALL ABOUT THE LAYERING.





Monday, January 21, 2013

Crazy Mouse Talk

Two years ago I made friends with a mouse. Several, actually, but like a stage mom picking favorites I cannot discount the unique bond had between one butter-loving miscreant and its loving, yet overly critical, caretaker.

Our relationship was both brief and tumultuous but as solid as the bacon grease over which we bonded. It took me a while to get over the denial that surfaces when one suddenly finds themselves not quite as alone as they'd thought. But after weeks of mysterious stovetop noises and curiously uniform "crumbs" on the counter, my mouse made his presence known one disgustingly cold Midwestern night. A fierce thrashing from within the garbage can greeted my entrance to the kitchen, stopping as suddenly as the sleep leaving my body. I was walking to the bathroom. He was searching for the elusive free lunch. Neither of us got what we wanted.

YES, ok, I KNOW. One does not simply have ONE MOUSE. Nor did I have an actual garbage CAN, but rather a bag placed strategically in the corner so as to avoid due attention, rendering it even more shockingly shake-able by said mouse (or mice). But for my sanity I preferred to think of him as my mouse friend. SINGULAR. And to give my past self more credit than is due, let's pretend that I'm an adult that can buy herself a functional garbage can. With a lid. That prevents mice from entering. END OF CLERICAL PARAGRAPH.

After that night I'd find more messages from my little amigo, in the form of scratch marks in the butter I'd leave on the counter while taking a shower or similar paw tracks in the aforementioned bacon grease. Either way, this dude was a fatass and how could I NOT find kinship in that?

Until one night Fernando really pissed me off. All that rattling around in my thousand-year old oven at 2 AM escalated from mildly endearing to NOT ACCEPTABLE, FERNANDO. I swear to Jesus Christo he was throwing a fucking mousey disco in there.

So at 2 AM in the middle of this penguin booger we call winter, I went out and got some live mouse traps. And I filled them with all the fat-ass peanut-butter and bacon-goodness I could find. And I went to bed feeling wholeheartedly righteous and superior to stupid Fernando. With whom I'd decided to indefinitely sever ties.

And that's when he started talking to me.

I'm not making this up. I'm also not going to pretend that it wasn't possibly a sleep-deprived hallucination. But early that morning, as I was attempting to extend my spiritual and psychic-tentacles out to wee Fernando to say that "hey you know what? It's not you. It's me. Just get in the box and I'll take you somewhere nice where the mice BATHE in bacon," the little fucker actually talked back. And he told me he loved me, and that he totally understood, and that he loved Laura and Katie too.

What the fuck? How does my mouse know Laura and Katie, and that they are the only two other people of whom I've explained his existence that don't get freaked out? That they actually think having a mice infestation is just dandy, that they're adorable little fuzz-balls? That they'd like to welcome him as a friend-in-law and feed him peanut butter on crackers till his legs give out?

I fell asleep eventually. And I actually remembered my brief psychic encounter with Fernando the next morning -- somehow even more vividly than when I left it. And I will swear to this day that regardless of what stage of REM I may have been in at the time, that night was the first time I ever communicated with a species not operating with opposable thumbs.

It is just as crazy as it sounds. But a lot of what we believe but keep to ourselves is just as crazy -- and you know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't care what your beliefs are. But I care that you believe in them. I think we all have the ability to talk to animals, to communicate with our inner organs, to create our own destinies. And I believe something happened that night that I hadn't experienced before. And if it didn't really? If I was just talking to the synapses in my own brain? I don't care much about that either. Because above all I believe that what you hold true is the only thing that matters, and if it makes you happier, then even more so.

So for the sake of my happiness I'll keep talking to mice, thanks. And believing in aliens. And telling myself that the face I see in pictures is not at all what I look like, either.

Friday, January 18, 2013

5 AM

As I ventured to my corner 7-Eleven at 5 AM yesterday morning, to seek treatment for unforeseen and/or unappreciated complications of monthly feminine physical discomfort, from somewhere within the fog of pain I was struck by the amount of headlights following me in the disarming dark -- not to mention the handful of others sharing a check-out line at the aforementioned establishment.

Now. One could assume, given the lack of light not fed by metal strings woven across the Earth's skin and the fact that the only other creatures stirring are those whose heads see a full rotation on their tiny, feathery bodies (seriously, who was the avid Owl Enthusiast responsible for the Exorcist?); that maybe human beings are not meant to be properly caffeinated and chemically infused long before the sun extends a few conciliatory rays in our direction. Personally I was damn well prepared to pop a few of those magical pills and pass out for a few more light-free permitting hours.

I'm being kind of an asshole. I know my fellows joining me in line next to the Big Gulps and ribbed condoms are only doing their American-blessed duty as providers, bread-winners and caretakers. They wake up at the ass-crack of dawn to make the money that feeds their families and themselves. I am blessed enough to have a vocation that allows me such luxuries as sleep, paid lunch breaks and discounted anti-anxiety remedies. It comes with its share of crazy-makers and the obsessively compulsive, but I enjoy it and the fellowship I find there gives me the freedom to do what I'm doing right now. And the two minute walk down the block doesn't hurt, either (even if I am still late every single day).

But look, here's the thing: I don't buy it. I still don't buy the adage that tells us we begin at life and end well, at the end -- with a span of toiling labor strung in between. I will never surrender to the mentality that to live is to work is to die; and joy is found in the few moments of acceptance along the way. Or maybe it's in the Big Gulp in the morning. Probably more likely those ribbed condoms.

If we really do live in the land of possibility, why do I still encounter a string of bright lights following me like a search party on a very undesirable trip the drugstore at 5 AM on a Wednesday morning? Perhaps these people, so not unlike me, enjoy their 4-hour daily commute. Maybe the job at the end of the line is the one they dreamt of when pretending to comprehend algebra some twenty years before. Maybe I am judgmental and biased from a life of being told that what you want you can actually have, even if it comes with the crazy-makers and obsessive-compulsives scattered in the mix.

I was raised being told that I could be whatever I wanted to be. And when I dropped out of college the first time to find out what that might be, it was not so much of my own conviction but more at the insistence of those rearing me. I thank The Mother for always goading me towards a path uniquely mine, and thus uniquely fulfilling.

So I'm frustrated by the lights in the dark. I'm angered that we still live in a time with the lingering notion that to survive is to suffer; and that you should be lucky to do even that. I believe in a life that contains all of what I want and not a bit else, because the joy of finding your true path is in its simplicity. When your life is what you want it to be, the rest takes care of itself.

I've said it a million times but I don't think it can be said enough. For all of you searching for where your lives begin and end, it's right where you left it before you started chasing it. It's in what makes you happy for happiness sake. So stop being a light in the dark. You already have one.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Conversation Piece

If we somehow miss each other in the next few days, and I somehow forget to call you back, or I randomly send you a text that contains

a) Little to no sense or;

b) A disturbingly convincing and/or confusingly probable meaning of life;

but fail to respond your subsequently-and-increasingly-over-time furious inquiries, it's probably because I'm here;



both staring into space, wondering if I could somehow turn this blank space into a time machine that will inevitably transport me into a reality from which I may deduce whether or not all this paint-slinging was ever worth it in the first place; AND painting myself naked to the chagrine and secret behind-the-hand judgements of everyone I know that won't admit it, while simultaneously doing the same of myself, for the five-hundred-thousandth time,

OR here;


(not much explanation necessary, but since I officially deem myself On The Spectrum Of Technology Incomprehension, you can click here for the linky-link)


or HERE;



wetting my proverbial Target Yoga pants awaiting your earth-shatteringly intimate and/or imperative questions on life, love, and what it's like to believe fiercly in aliens and vaguely that someday devising a way to wash your shirt's armpits in the sink will amount to something. Also, an invitation to talk about someone else's life and problems besides mine is always welcome. So like, stop being such an anonymous douche and talk to me, dammit.


Cheers to a heartbreakingly cold Monday in the Midwest, folks. Screw you, Florida.




Sunday, January 13, 2013

Instagram Loop

I got caught in an Instagram loop this morning. A pre-teen Instagram loop.


I don't know how I got there. But I assure you such a circle of girls and boys not yet fit for driving, yet virtually spanning the globe, I did not know existed. One where girls with Pink sweatshirts and top knots list follower numbers ending in K. One where emoticons I don't have the first clue as to their formation are splashed across comment sections like the fierce war paint of a generation.


I was reading Man Repeller yesterday, and it's no coincidence that this particular conversation caught my attention instantly. Leandra was commenting on an article recently featured in Gawker. The one where we ruminate on the place technology has in our lives and the generations rearing below us, and the apparently rampant narcissism it has fostered. But is it, though? What is that desire within all of us to spread our lips for the camera, to document our every movement to be viewed and commented on and shared for the world to see? Is it the narcissism we preach it to be, or is it something greater or more profoundly telling of our generation?


It's for the above concerns that it took me so long to start writing this blog. Or to understand the concept of any blog, for that matter. I could not fathom a world where anyone but my brain-hamster or title-bound friends would want to hear anything I had to say past the standard facebook "OMG I miss you let's hang out soon!!" I felt pretentious even considering sharing what I have to say with the channels of technology running through our everyday lives. But now I'm beginning to suspect it's pretentious to shy away from it based on that very presumption. What kind of mind-fuck is THAT?


So what are we doing, then? What are we doing when we bare our lives for the masses and invite them into our own private sector of the universe? Or rather, are we really baring ourselves, or are we just presenting the best of what we have to offer in hopes that it will be rewarded with praise, fame and fortune? Are we really as narcissistic as they say, or are we simply screaming for someone to acknowledge that yes indeed, we are alive, and simply by that fact we are wonderful? Is that acknowledgement what we're searching for to validate our lives, and in turn, finally be happy?


The battle wages in my own head eternally -- "to be, or not to be, technology?" Because while the connectedness we've gained as a human race through the Interwebs is irrefutable, I wonder sometimes if we've not bastardized it in some way. When Al Gore sat down to invent the Internets, did he envision a future in which our shared experiences would enrich our lives; or did he see me, sitting at the computer for hours on end, agonizing over all that I am and am not in the vast comparison that is every other person on this planet, splashed across pages?


Obviously, this is a great disparity for me. My relationship with people is such that I love them all and fully (except when I want to punch them in the face), but with all the people out there to love via my computer screen I wonder how this feet is possible. I wonder if we've gotten too consumed by ourselves being loved by the masses instead of loving the masses. I wonder if we've tripped a switch that's brought us to a Back to the Future-esque alternative reality where we've missed the point. Maybe it's a product of a generation that never felt heard by its parents striving for technology-driven success (let's not even get started on the Industrial Revolution, when all of this "go go go" mentality was created) that we feel the need to put ourselves out on the grid to feel validated. Maybe we're all just dying for that outlet for our creativity that is squandered by the same mentality. Maybe we're just looking for the right way to use all this information at our fingertips.


As Leandra points out, it's the drive for happiness that creates the confusion. Are we really happy and want to share it, or are we searching for that happiness in a "you look sew hawt" brand of communication? I'd like to believe we have found our happiness within ourselves and desire to extend it outwards, expanding its levity. But I'm not always so sure. My hope is for all of us to find that which drives us, and then bring it to others. I know it's out there. I know it's what brings a great number of us together on this sphere connected by telephone wires and iCloud addresses. I only hope that is the direction we choose to move along, instead of twisting it around as an end chasing a means.


I guess I'm doomed to eternally agonize over my role and feelings henceforth of this new brand of living we're in. I was born a few years too early to be indoctrinated in it like my younger family members and a few years too late to disregard it entirely. So I'm stuck forever in the middle, wondering where this media fits into our lives and why. I'd like to believe in its connective power. I'll go with that for a while. But as soon as I start posting pictures like this, please do yourselves a favor and take me off your contact list.









Wednesday, January 9, 2013

International Sex Symbol

I began this post last night as titled "That One Time In Milan," and it commenced:


"No, I'm not talking about that time I almost got pregnant and fled the country post haste, or how I didn't pay metro fare for an entire weekend in Vienna. Not that either of those ever happened. Or maybe. WHICH ONE IS IT."


...and then I realized that the story I had intended to tell about the one day I got a head- and foot-ache walking around town and went home to avail it with a nice hot bath and other modicum of relaxation techniques that did not work, only to sit down and draw and become magically cured, thus proving my philosophy on bodily cues, is waaaaay less interesting and scintillating and potentially heartbreakingly inappropriate for certain member of my family that may be reading, than the time that I actually did almost get pregnant in Milan and flee the country mere days later. Plus I have something equally scintillating and potentially heartbreaking to make the point I was previously discussing. It will have to wait for our less pressing conversations.


I took myself to Europe three years ago to gain the kind of culture an early-twenties, midwestern Suburbianite can only fantasize about in dreams of international fame and artsy boys with Italian accents. I was staying in the foothills of the Alps on the Italian side, just outside of Milan. I ate a lot. I slept a lot. I traveled to Paris for a week and Vienna for a weekend to fall in love with my idols all over again. I also didn't talk much, seeing as Europeans can be just as big of assholes as we Americans are to our Southern continental neighbors.


(On a side note, I did meet that artsy guy with the Italian accent. Well, not so much an accent per se, as an entire language. One whose comprehension of English went so far as "forest." No I mean it, that was the only English word he knew. I learned a lot of Italian from him. Also later that he had a girlfriend and was "Jesus' age when he died," as he put it. It didn't end well.)


A friend of mine and I met in Paris to explore the city for the week. Upon our departing day I had the chance to meet one of his bunkmates at the hostel where we last stayed. He was a pipsqueek of a kid with ambition and too big a fancy for Jack Kerouac. I employ the word "fancy" because he was also British.


The three of us, traveling the Metro at the same time soon discover that LO AND BEHOLD, FancyPants and I are both headed to Milan. Me for my return and he to get all "On The Road" with some literary reference to the city that only a pretentious 19-year old can conjure (ok, YES, I went to Vienna to walk the same glorious streets that Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele once trod and tattoo their philosophy on my arm. I know what you're thinking. IT'S NOT THE SAME).


I told him the lake I was staying on was pretty shnazzy. He made some literary "aha!" over the lake. I told him to come hang out. A few days later, we were eating pizza and drinking a liter of wine. Ok, maybe two liters. Ok, maybe two liters, a gin and tonic, and a bar-bought bottle of wine from the B&B where he was staying, just for safe measure. There was a couple asking us to breakfast the next morning, ok? We had to keep talking and drinking! It's the Italian way!


So, anyways, I suppose by now you can see where this is going. By the next morning I was slightly less drunk and increasingly more concerned of what the gentle village folk might think of a trollop like me staggering home at 7 o'clock in the morning. But I had to get out of there. Ladies, you know why I had to get out of there.


By far and away, this is the stupidest thing I will ever admit to having taken part. I do not recommend this brand of behavior to anyone. Maybe in Florida on Spring Break or something. NOT in a foreign country, contact-less, and without proper understanding of the native tongue. Just, don't do it, promise?


Several fevered google-searches, an eternally long Easter weekend (do you know that fucking everything is closed in Italy on Easter weekend? Including Monday? That means no Walgreens, ladies. Talk about Jesus freaks) and one pitiful head-shake from a Farmacia tech later, I found myself in a south-bound spiral of OHMYGODHOLYSHIT-ness.


I did return fairly shortly after this incident. I'd like to say it was not altogether out of shame or sheer terror, but it largely was. That and the fact that I was out of money. Like, two weeks prior out of money. So to my flight attendant friend did I run and Chicago via JFK did I land. It was a great trip; a more enlightening and soul-stirring trip than any I could have conjured in my artsy-boy dreams. But to this end it did, well, end.


I don't tell you this story to regale you with my bad-assitude or to inspire pity or, possibly, revulsion. I tell it because even today, some three years and far worse heartbreaks later, it is one of the greatest lessons I have yet to let sink into my life-hardened skull.


I'm not talking about the blatantly obvious "don't-do-stupid-shit-you-stupid-shit" lesson. Because we'll all do stupid shit sometimes. We'll all hook up with underage strangers in our slutty years because they tell us we're pretty. We'll all get ourselves into situations we'd tell our Grandchildren not to get into. But what I learned in the short week and a half I spent in Nebbiuno following this great lapse in judgement, is the value of acceptance.


Acceptance for me, at that time, meant acknowledging that I was in a potentially horrifying situation. Acceptance for me meant that while said situation could pan out in several different ways at some abstract point in the future, there was literally nothing I could do at that particular moment about it. All I could do was enjoy the beautiful country surrounding me, soak in as much as I could in my remaining time, and hope for the end most in line with my life's path.


BUT. This is my life's greatest lesson thus far because, as I've mentioned so subtlely before, I tend toward the anxious temperament. It is very easy for me to run through the "what if's" over and over again until the hamster in my skull's wheel dies of dehydration. But in that moment, with nothing else on my side except my own self-awareness, I chose to accept and move on. And you know what? Things turned out pretty dandy. Even if it took me a while to get rid of my pizza cheeks.




Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Internet Controler-y

Today, after months of unwaranted procrastination and what some might call "stalling," I did this:



Then, to make up for all that time wasted "being creative," I did this:


...meaning I spent a few hours here

and this:



...and this.



I swear to Lisa Frank, all this technology will be the end of me. That photo up there? This is the third place you can find it within my circle of Internet control-ery. As in, Facebook and Instagram are all abuzz of me doing something besides sharing blog posts and stalking people from High School. But in case you're not keeping tabs on me at all times through all channels of stalker-ism, here it is. I will say that it feels damn good to put a brush to canvas again. And not at all in like a I-forced-myself-to-do-this-so-I-don't-die-a-meaningless-cat-filled-death, either. That'll be in tomorrow's forecast.


It is interesting, though. I've been hearing the Reaper's coffee breath at my shoulder all week, what with this hacking cough and Seattle-esque brain fog and all. But eternal rest be damned, as soon as I started painting I felt a tickle of my normal self at my ribcage (THE WORST PLACE to be tickled, in case you're wondering). It reminds me of this time in Europe when I thought my head was in danger of splitting in half and I tried to take a bath in this giant jacuzzi but couldn't figure out how to turn it on. And the hot water ran out at about 2 inches. And then some other stuff happened I felt a whole lot better. Hmm....that might have to be an upcoming post. Whaddya think? More meaningful-self-centered-mumbo-jumbo tomorrow? I CAN HEAR YOUR ENTHUSIASM FROM HERE.


Enjoy your evening, lovelies. Me and my bed will, too.




Monday, January 7, 2013

Columnar Perspective

It is of notable importance that I mention a few acquisitions, of the last few days:


1) An internet connection within the confines of my own home, rendering the need to stand outside Starbucks at late hours inconsequential. Maybe just for kicks, in future (meaning not soul-shatteringly cold) days.

2) A complete and utter surrender to the world of technology in the form of an iphone 5. It still hurts. But I kind of like it.


It should be said that due to the former -- and within the last few hours, the latter -- that I have spent much time and deliberation doing copious amounts of market-based research. Meaning, I've wasted most of the last few days wading through a bunch of shit on the Internets.


This leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Or maybe a too-sweet one, like after you eat an entire bag of M&M's. Not to mention a dull throb behind my left eyeball. Though I have thus far successfully resisted the growing urge to abandon all attempts at productivity in lieu of watching countless hours of Breaking Bad on Netflix. I should probably get this done as soon as possibly before the desire becomes greater than what they say about fat kids and cake.


(Speaking of long do you suppose a flourless chocolate cake lasts, when refrigerated? Also, what do you think that smell in my fridge is? The cake tasted ok today, anyway.)


Disregarding the numbed-out affliction my brain takes on when too much time is spent in front of a screen, it's more about the content upon which I fixate when immersed in a techno-binge that causes the problem. Because it's always there. There's always more to look at, more to obsess over, more to get lost in. And right on the edge of that more is the soft song seeping through its pixels that, when passed through the central lobe, screams I TOLD YOU THEY WERE BETTER THAN YOU.


I had told myself before I began this post that I was not going to rhapsodize, yet again, on that which I agonize in myself is not good enough or comparison-worthy. So I won't. I'll simply note that it is my greatest disparity in living in a culture so saturated with information that it seems as though our clothes may never dry. I have my faults. And self-deprication is obviously top of the food chain over here. Moving on.


The upside to diving into the sea of information more accessible than flouride-free water is that it's gotten me thinking about what I'm made of. More specifically, what I'm good at and where I'm hopelessly flawed. I'm really good at mixing the same color paint, on repeat. I'm really bad at remembering (or maybe it's caring) to clean my toilet before mold grows on its edges. In both cases, it would appear that the definitions are getting both clearer and more muddled down the line. And by "line," I mean IN MY OLD AGE.


What I'm trying to discern, though, through all of this "understanding" and "defining" is not what I'm inherently good or bad at, but what I'm PASSIONATE at. For someone who has defined themselves as a painter for so long to experience a dip in desire, it feels shaky to find myself without a perch to stand on. I could say maybe "I'm a writer" but even I don't believe that any more than you do. I like to write. I like to paint. Sometimes I really like to write and sometimes I more than really like to paint. Sometimes I really like to listen to couples fight on the train. But this lack of consistency is where I find myself right now, and where the columns of "good at" and "not good at" are alternatively becoming both helpful and a huge disservice.


Because there are a lot of things I'd like to be good at. And there are a lot of things I'd like to never try again, ever (like discus). What I want is to be completely consumed by whatever that thing is I'm doing at that particular moment. Like, every moment. And Netflix does not count.


I started reading this blog today and at first, though I couldn't look away, it made me feel completely sub-par at, well, everything. But I think I need that. I get comfortable in feeling "good enough" too often. I rest in the place that I'm standing without looking further ahead. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself. But I'm trying to let that which I'm good at be enough to get better, and what I'm not rest in peace. I'm on a journey for my passion again. Let's hope this is the only melodramatic stop on the way.




Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Sign Of The Crab

Today is one of those days that start on the wrong side of the bed, covered in drool, and come served with a strong desire to punch someone in the face. And buy "punch" I mean "2013 is a great year to find a channel for all my unexpressed rage" and by "someone" I mean "anyone that speaks more than two words in my general vicinity."


From the shrill beep of the cash register any time my numbed-out brain hits an incorrect key; to the guy that throws his money on the counter instead of lifting his arm an extra two inches for my hand; to the too-nice old lady asking the same 10 questions three times in succession; the only saving grace of this day is that I may be able to pass off the sore-throat tremble in my voice as near tears. That might get me more sympathy than telling the guy ahead of me in line at Starbucks to hurry the fuck up would.


On the bright side, I think I'm getting an ab workout out of all this coughing. I'll count that as compensation enough for the tight-wire strings running through my shoulder muscles.


Luckily, I know my coworkers well enough to let them know when I'd rather be telling them off than conversing. And luckier still, I can say this knowing that they will not take offense but rather let me stew in my misery, glued to a computer screen, than attempt to rattle me out of it with their tales of New Year's debauchery. Actually, if those tales involve losing your favorite shoes, fighting with a loved one, and losing all sense of morality around 2 o'clock in the morning; well then count me in! Because when there's nothing else to snap you out of a bad mood, obscenely reveling in someone else's is just as good.


Oh, and I also ripped my new tights wearing the boots that I KNOW always rip my new tights when I cross my legs. I guess I stil don't learn by experience very well.


I have, however, learned through 24 years' worth of experience that I am much better off sharing with those around me how I'm feeling than keeping it under wraps made of fake smiles and too-loud-laughter. It took me until a few years ago to finally get it that just saying "I'm crabby as shit today" relieves an elephant's worth of unnecessary pressure. No fake smiles needed. No internal string of expletives at anyone that breathes too close to my ear. As soon as those that count know that I'll be the last person they hug today, I can work out on my own how to rise from the muck. Or not.


For most of my life, I was a very good actor. I knew how to pretend to be awake and alert when I was exhausted; I knew how to fake enthusiasm when I didn't give two shits; I knew how to be your best friend when I didn't care whether I saw you for another second of my life. Needless to say, playing pretend gets exhausting.


I think I even remember the first time I told someone besides The Mother that I wasn't altogether "there" because of my mood. And I remember feeling a hell of a lot better about being open and honest about it, afterwards. It makes telling the world when you're happy that much better, too. In the past few years I've learned even to tell complete strangers when I don't feel like talking, because hey, sometimes I really just don't feel like talking.


A few weeks ago Buddy Holly and I were out at our favorite bar. I could tell he was trying very hard to engage me in conversation -- he was talking circles around me and I was trying my best to be attentive and interested. A feat that is normally not all that difficult for me, considering I can talk and talk and talk and talk if need be. After a while, when he asked me a question, I simply told him I wasn't feeling very talkative that night. His response?


"Thanks for telling me that. It means a lot that you would tell me what's going on without me having to guess where your head is and if it has something to do with me. I can appreciate that feeling."


I may be crabby as hell today but at least it's out there. I may be in a bubble of my own thoughts, but at least my nearest and dearest know it's not about them. I may get close to verbally handing someone their own ass at any given moment, but I think I'll just keep my mouth shut knowing that they know the truth: it's not you. It's most definitely me.




Thursday, January 3, 2013


I hate multi-ply toilet paper.


This is mostly because it seems as though I go through it in about two seconds. I swear I bought a 12-pack two weeks ago and I'm on my last roll. And before you ask, it's not why you think it is. I just have a small bladder and an even smaller budget conscience.


In case you're wondering why I'm wasting internet space talking about toilet paper, it's because this is about the only thought I've had today that has much meaning. And THAT'S because I'm sick again. It seems as though colds come in pairs in my old age. Beginning in the head and ending in the lungs. Hello, hacking cough! Nice to see you again!


Also in case you're wondering if the second season of Dexter is better the second time around, the answer is yes. Especially when taken in large doses in rapid succession. And I'm still working on my plans for marrying Michael C. Hall.


The only other vital thought that's crossed my mind today amidst the fog is what I'll do if I actually finish this post. Because I still don't have internet. Or cable (hence the Dexter reruns -- "borrowed" from Buddy Holly on DVD about a year ago). I guess I'm destined to be that creepy girl that stands outside Starbucks at midnight in her pajamas.


I'm pretty sure I could write a book on how to live on a puny budget. Or rather, a budget-indifferent budget. Like how to wash the armpit stink out of your favorite shirts in your bathroom sink. Or how to stretch the last paper products in your home as toilet paper to avoid going to the grocery store (and how to reduce cloggage). Or, when having guests over, how to pick out the best 4-dollar wine and use that Chipotle gift card you got for Christmas on $20 worth of chips and guacamole.


I have done all of these things in the last four days. Most in the last 12 hours, actually. I'm still working on the sink-pit-washing part. The trick is not getting the entire shirt wet and concentrating on the odorous areas.


The problem I have is that I struggle with prioritizing. Between deodorant and new lipstick, GIVE ME CHERRY LIPS. Photographic posterity lasts longer than a few smelly impressions, right? I guess it won't be long before I'm in those pictures alone. I will also go to great lengths to avoid purchasing the following: toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, checks (a feat I had managed for my entire 24 years, until recently), gas, groceries and cleaning products in general. I'm not lazy. I'm just Practically Challenged.


The idea of spending an hour in Jewel deciding between Caesar or Italian dressing oftentimes feels ridiculous, when there is coffee to be drunk and conversations to be had and ideas to be formed. An extra 5 minutes at the gas station becomes an eternity when there is so much Other Stuff to be doing. I think my own unique hell would be as a personal assistant.


And forget being sick. This is the topper on a cake made of shit. Because I cannot stand such a minute thing as my BODY getting in the way of all the more fun things I could be doing. But then again, that's probably the reason why I'm sick in the first place. I can't ignore the fact that my body knows me better than I think it does. And my body's telling me to calm the fuck down, for the time being.


I'm just hoping this isn't the reason humans mate. If it really is just to share errands for one household, I've lost all hope in us. Isn't that what personal assistants are for?



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fucking Brilliant



My uncle gave these to me for Christmas this year from Urban Outfitters. Can you say that you have an uncle that shops at Urban Outfitters? I DIDN'T THINK SO.


Clearly, I will be using the yellow one most often. Finally, some[thing] understands me.


This Daily Mosifer brought to you by sleep deprivation and leftover New Year's champagne. Also, Jesus.


Tomato Soup in a Can

I started writing a letter to Jesus yesterday. Mostly to tell him that I think we could have been friends, that I'm glad he was born, and that my dad was a carpenter so hey! we may have had something in common after all. But mostly to say that while I'm glad he was born and all, I'm pretty thrilled that that whole celebration is over. Because I'm fucking exhausted.


(Is it blasphemous to say "Jesus" and "fuck" in the same paragraph? I guess it's probably blasphemous to write to Jesus to tell him you're glad his birthday is over in the first place. Fuck again).


Really, though. I just wanted to say that the holidays are great. The holidays are a magical time full of love and familial irritation, Christmas miracles and long return lines. Christmas is knowing that everyone loves you enough to not know the first thing about what you like. New Years Eve is like a fairytale where your lost shoe usually procures a nasty hangover in the morning instead of a shining Prince (actually there may be a prince, but considering that hangover he's probably not "shining"). The holidays are one of my favorite times of year but after this one have nailed a coffin in the much greater and more pressing concern I have for my well-being right now.


I'm beginning to suspect that I'm aging rapidly.


Read the signs: my work has a standard discount for both a) those that spend over a certain amount of money at a time and b) the elderly folk we as a society have labeled "seniors." While I will always adhere to the first clause, I WILL NOT give a customer a senior discount unless they inform me of their eligibility. Ever. Trust me, I've witnessed that scene go south in far too grand a way to ever make an educated guess. I refuse to be yelled at for thinking a 50-year old with two grandkids behind her is 65. Sorry, I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I'M YOUNG AND IGNORANT.


So, a few weeks ago as I was ringing a [suspected senior] customer up I gave her our standard discount. The reason being that she had spent over $100. When she asked if I gave her the senior discount, I said yes. I did not elaborate that no, I did not think she looked like a senior. I did not attempt to make her feel better about her physique or minimally-wrinkled skin by explaining that everyone that spends that amount of money will be rewarded with a few bucks off, not just the older folks. I did not attempt to assuage her ego with the truth because you know what? I didn't care. And talking more than I had felt way too exhausting. So I let the silence hang.


That very scene is what I imagine old age to be. The don't-give-a-shit that so many older women and men have that allows them to get away with telling me that "you'll regret those tattoos when you're older" without a flinch. The I-can-say-what-I-want that comes with enduring kids that don't give a shit and grandkids that care too much that cuts people in line at the Jewel. The seemingly unwitting but you KNOW they want you to think that so they can steel the last pound of cheese that comes with old age. That kind of brain-work. In that very moment, I had become the women standing before me. MY BRAIN BECAME OLD.


That, coupled with the fact that all I could think about all day today was coming home to a hot shower and adequate slippers and a fuzzy blanket, in hopes of going to bed by 9; plus my not-so-quiet rage with weather under 64 degrees and fondness of knitting needles leads me to the only valid conclusion: that this year I will turn 80.


Maybe I'm just wise enough to realize that the holidays are not just about ME anymore, and there's a lot more to being an adult than just trying to fall asleep all night on Christmas Eve because HOLY SHIT PRESENTS; or that when you don't buy your own gloves and you get frost bite on your fingers you have to drive your own ass to Urgent Care.


I'm not feeling cynical. I'm really not. I'm just reveling in the fact that writing this post is literally the only thing I will do all night, besides continue to watch the second season of Dexter (for the second time...damn you, un-free cable and internet!) and heat up some tomato soup though (that seems like way too much effort right now). I'm just marveling in all that it takes to support yourself; that The Mother did all this shit I'm doing now with two bratty kids on her ass all the time; that for the first time since I've moved back out I haven't packed my evening with things to do and it's GLORIOUS. I'm just realizing why old ladies actually do have the right to say whatever the hell they want. They paid their dues. I think maybe I'll embrace the brief foray into that particular personality trait for a while. And hope to Jesus it doesn't stick for at least another few decades.




Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bonus Points

This afternoon I was driving behind a car with a bumper sticker that read "screw it, let's ride." And when I say "driving," I mean "inaudibly cursing and rubbernecking to see if I can somehow pass oh fuck you motherfucker!" the car with the aforementioned bumper sticker that was driving 20 mph on a busy road at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.


Oh, the not-at-all-subtle and not-even-that-humorous irony.


For the duration of the drive and as I'm internally going "aha" over the nice little opening that interaction gifted me -- after a period of blogging-silence and difficulty diving back in, as they say -- I was able to yet again see and simultaneously curse myself for that which I ask for, but get royally pissed off when it's handed to me. Case in point: I've spoken endlessly on my lack of patience and desire to acquire some. Hand me a slow-moving old lady in a car with an appropriately ironic bumper sticker and ENJOY it (that's what whatever spiritual, agnostic or otherwise cracked-out version of God you believe in would be saying to me about being stuck behind Race-y McSlowPants. As in, you asked for the patience, so enjoy the lesson when it slaps you in the face). I was going to my grandmother's. Just because she drives like a Burton on smack doesn't mean she's going to be all that disappointed that I arrived two minutes later than I would to eat Velveeta cheese dip. In fact, I think my GI tract is thankful.


Flash forward a few miles down Randall and one brain wave later to my rumination on another sore subject, and one that's been on my mind without relent in the last few days. I'm talking about my current holiday- and moving-related economic shortcomings and accompanying mood-alterations. Or rather, I'M BROKE and GOD DAMMIT.


The holidays are always a money-suck, but for some reason this year I'm feeling the drain a little bit deeper than most. I know it's because of the move and getting acclimated to being Financially Responsible again, but believe me when I say that never before in my life have I been this cashed out. Very rarely is the occasion that I opt out of a night out with friends for fiscal reasons, or put down just ONE MORE Target sweater because feeding myself is more important. For those that have heard me complain about being lower-middle class whilst typing away on my ipad, with a full fridge and heat streaming in through the WALLS (ask your great-grandparents how amazing that simple feat of engineering is and you'll better understand the capitalization), let me say I had no idea what I was talking about then. Really. I was never in danger of entering $0.15 in my bank account. I always had something stashed away somewhere to carry me through. But you'd better believe that possibility is hovering dangerously in between me and next Tuesday's paycheck.


I was mulling all of this over while simultaneously keeping one eye on the lookout for cops to avoid letting see my busted tail light (I don't think three is a lucky number when it comes to traffic warnings) when I yet again realized that of course, I have been asking for this all along. And today, on this day of new beginnings and weight-loss plans, it's my resolution for the coming year. I'm talking about simplicity.


Sam and I have been discussing this topic a lot since she's been home for the holidays. She and I have a tendency to exacerbate each other's spending habits. As she says, "it's gross." But what we often fail to realize or acknowledge during these trysts of buying is how much we actually have already. I mean, how many other colors are there in the spectrum to own in cardigan form? And what will I really gain out of another meal at Potbelly's -- besides pounds -- when I'm letting the smoked salmon in my fridge rot for another month? In all that there is to do and buy around us, we very often forget what is already right there. Plus I finally have enough hooks to hang my accessories on.


It's not just material. We all know how the ego gets in the way when we have to suck it up and say "no" to another round of Sangrias. Saying no sometimes feels like the biggest failure of all. There must be something wrong with me that I can't say yes to any and everything there is to do and see and be in this world.


But here's the thing about that. It's true that I began this search for simplicity last year when I moved out of my studio. It had become too much both financially and energetically to have my creativity so far removed from my actual life, so when the opportunity presented itself to leave I took it as a chance to condense those features. When I left my old apartment I again simplified my bills by paying off my car. I have inched my way closer and closer to this point of not needing quite so "much." And now that I feel the financial strain so acutely right now, I know the process is not over.


Because you know what happens when I don't have the money to go out on a Friday night? I write. Or when I can't afford to buy everything I could possibly need at the grocery store? I get creative with a few leftovers. And you know how good it feels to take care of myself financially instead of hurting myself just to buy another dress to add to an exploding closet? Pretty awesome. And maybe I'll finally learn how to use that way too nice sewing machine I've had sitting around for years, too.


I'm not exactly excited about being on the south side of broke. But I do know that this is what I've wanted for a long time, which is the opportunity to get acquainted with exactly what is important to me and what I am absolutely fine without. I'm beyond excited to see what this New Year of changes will bring. And if I come knocking on your door begging for food, just go with it. And don't comment on my new shoes.