Sunday, August 25, 2013

Doing things solo, like Hans

You want to see a movie, but have no one to go with. What do you do? Go alone!

Alone as a word sounds so scary and lonely. Change your perspective and it becomes wildly freeing. Because being alone and doing activities that you enjoy solo is not only fun, it can be a learning experience. This learning experience doesn't have to come about from a trip you took to Southeast Asia "to find yourself" it can be from that time you smuggled in a salad to the theatre after yoga to see This is the End. By hanging out with you, yourself and I, you get to experience how awesome you are and how much you enjoy your own company! Sometimes we all need a little reminder of what makes us who we are in this big world and sometimes we also need to touch base with who we are in this moment in time. And yet other times all of our friends are busy or being annoying and so you are left with no other options than to get breakfast by your damn self, a rather wonderful experience because you don't have to split your pancakes WITH ANYONE, NO ONE ELSE GETS THEM! 

You don't have to think about doing things with a party of one in the deep theme of learning about who you are blah blah, if you don't want. That's really only part of the equation. I think the larger more exciting reason to bite the bullet and adventure with only you as your companion is because 1. it is a blast 2. you are an exceptional human being and 3. no one is holding you back from doing what you want to do!

I've always enjoyed solitude, but haven't always been confident enough to go out and do activities that you generally associate with the need for a companion.

It all started when I studied abroad in London. I had so many things I wanted to see and do and moments I wanted to enjoy and reflect upon that a lot of time I found it easier to do this stuff on my own. Although, my alone time may have originated out of necessity, it quickly became an important development in my life.

Things really changed when I moved away to grad school. Again I was placed in a new situation with a big ass to-do list of sites, sounds and smells I wanted to revel in and revel I did. Instead of being intimidated by doing things alone in a new city I was unfamiliar with, I found it more comfortable to explore Hans Solo because it felt wild and independent and grown up. And these thoughts drove my experiences. The more I do things alone, the more comfortable I am with the feeling and the more I let myself truly embrace my friendship with me! It's cool dudes, very cool. I would say come join me sometime, but that is really opposite to what I am advocating here. Go be by yourself and we can be by ourselves together!

Doing movies, museums, coffee shops, bookstores, etc. on my own feels like a breeze now. It took me a while to get there, for sure, but now that I've made it, I want to push my limits even more. Over the last few months I traveled to Europe alone (!) and went to a baseball game with JUST ME. Both of these feats felt like I had conquered the world. In those moments, I was like the original gangsta. I AM the original gangsta and you can be too!

Does it not hurt that I am single with no loving male companion to accompany me on trips that would fit quite nicely with a boyfriend? The answer is YES, but I don't like to think of a life that means having a boyfriend is synonymous with having no alone time, because that is terrifying. I am embrace my singledom! She says meekly standing in a corner alone at a party slurping down glasses of wine. No really, I do, for the most part. However, when I do enter into a super great relationship, it shall be known from the getgo that Hans Solo time is a part of who I am and needs to stay around. And I will encourage my Charlie Hunnam look - a - like boyfriend to partake in his own alone time activities as well. We will both benefit from it. And then we will get married and have a fabulous life, so there everyone!

Maybe all this alone nonsense is old news to you. Maybe you dine solo five nights a week.

But for those of you who think this all sounds disgustingly unappetizing, those of you who call everyone in your phone book to see the new Fast and Furious movie with you (Is it like the 17th one or something? Not, just kidding and trying to look cool. I know definitively there have only been 6 and each one has their own merits), give yourself a run for your money! Being alone can be delicious.

Seriously, just do it. You'll understand how independent you can be and how much you like your own company...I hope. If not, call your bestie STAT!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Big city loving

Adjusting to living in a big city can be interesting and a bit of a culture shock. I've had a few longer term experiences with urban city life, but nothing real until I moved to Washington, DC about a year ago. Since move in day I've noticed some big themes.

1. Finding your keys
You're always carrying 3 bags at once and have to dig mercilessly through mounds of your belongings just to find your freaking keys. They are so coy and hide from you. You have to search for them like you do for the Dorito with the most seasoning. Oh and also, usually you have to pee so you're squirming around outside of your apartment door, clawing for your keys, deep breathing, telling yourself NO I WILL NOT PEE MY PANTS and really hoping that what you're telling yourself is true. You find your keys, you open the door, you drop all your shit and run to the bathroom. And you promise yourself that from here on out you will put your keys in that perfect little side pocket in your purse so they are always easily accessible. But, it all happens again the next day.

2. Dirty, dirty
So, big cities are generally pretty dirty which is a shame, especially in the summer because it gets REALLY smelly (not so much in DC, but NYC stanks). And with the filth brings the rats and the trash and the smells and the bugs and just the all around nastiness. Pretty gross, but this dirtiness aspect is one of the easiest things to get used to, probably because I hold on tightly to my naivety that those little creatures rustling in the bushes and scampering across the alleyway are simply night loving squirrels! Not rats, you guys, never rats. Unless you're a germaphobe just don't think about all the grime and you'll be alright.

3. Walking everywhere
This is my favorite change of all time. I don't think I'll ever be able to go back. I only sometimes want to complain about this, like when it is 98 degrees out with 100% humidity or when I want to redeem my groupon for $30 worth of pies, but have to use it all at one time and don't know if I can handle that many pies without a vehicle. Other than that, I am super happy! Walking gives you time to think about your life, to listen to great music, to catch up on audiobooks or podcasts and to potentially run into your Prince Charming. Points for the fact that it burns calories and keeps you moving too!

I generally like people. But not when they are everywhere I turn, breathing loudly, grazing into me, WALKING SLOWLY. My anger towards these public offenders has been sort of muted because I live in the nation's capital, meaning there are always tourists and various visitors. I've had to learn to deal with people all the time everywhere always. It's taken some serious meditation and deep breathing on my part. Maybe if slow walkers did some deep breathing of their own and changed their ways the world would be a better place? 

5. Public transit...more people
This goes along with the walking and the people. I don't love public transportation, even though the DC metro is pretty great. We all have our horror stories, but at the end of the day the massive and intricate public transportation systems that big cities have are pretty impressive and I am grateful for them. Respect. 

6. Lack of personal green space
This one bums me out a lot, a lot because I've been spoiled with such a beautiful garden my mom maintains at home! Flowers and grass and bushes and herbs and trees are happy things. Gardens are special places and some of my favorite spots of serenity in the world (Hello, Kensington Gardens!). Hell, I'd take a measly green bush on my concrete rooftop. DC is full of squares that are kind of like parks and if one plans correctly, one can claim a corner all one's own, ignoring all the PEOPLE moseying around. (Can I get a high five for my commitment to sticking with using "one"?)  

While some of these adjustments have taken time, I'm a fan of big city living and wouldn't change it for the world. So many options, so much excitement, so much fun! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A love letter to comedy

Ah ye comedy, you make me laugh and only ever make me cry from laughing so hard. You make my heart sing and my head hurt from loud mouthed giggles. You are ever present, because the beauty is that you can be used (not used in a "I'm using you for your access to movie theatre popcorn because you work at AMC" kind of way, more like utilized and respected) in any situation.

Comedy, I love you. Like for real, I really love you. 

Through good times and bad you've stuck with me. From All That to Wayne's World to SNL to Superbad to Bridesmaids. I can highlight monumental moments in my life with your presence. Like chocolate, you are always there to make me smile. My most supportive friend. Thanks!

Why do I like you so much you ask? Because you bring lightness to life:

Fall down the stairs in a dress while wearing a thong flashing the Prince of England (Prince Harry, because William isn't as cute and he's very off the market)? Laugh it off.

Realize you've been talking to your crush with spinach in your teeth and oppressive garlic breath? Let's just laugh about that one.

Accidentally hit reply all on that super hilarious gif about loving wine to every single staff member at work? Hahaha is the best remedy.

Catch your reflection while doing a random belly dancing cardio workout you found on your tv on a Saturday night and realize you have literally NO rhythm? That's funny, right?

While these aren't life threatening issues, you comedy, keep me present in perspective. You save me from the doldrums, because when I remove myself from the utter terror of the situation I realize life is pretty damn funny. 

But the cool thing about you is you're also there to make the good times brighter! Channeling Tina Fey, quoting Parks and Rec and laughing at stupid informercials (Have you seen the one about the weird ice pillow? I'm equal parts curious and creeped out), you make the days so much more fun.

I can't live without you! Never leave me! Everyday you are in my life is a good day. Let's keep laughing together, comedy, you crazy thing. I promise to stay starry eyed for you, if you promise to keep the good times coming. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Being Selfish

There have been two notable times in the recent past when a moment of realization occurred to make me think, "Woah! I'm so selfish!" and then I feel bad and vow that  I will make real adjustments to be more compassionate to others and to stop thinking about my damn self for like 5 minutes. 

The first time I had this realization, I was chilling post hot yoga thinking about how much my ass just got kicked and seriously wondering how my body can produce that much sweat. Amid these existential thoughts, I suddenly got body checked by a new thought: STOP THINKING ABOUT YOURSELF! Spread the love to others girlfriend, because this all you all the time is getting a little boring. So then I obviously called my mom and relayed to her this story and happily proclaimed "Ok, I'm going to focus on other people now. I'll call you back when I'm Mother Theresa." Then I probably went back to wondering how many calories I had just burned in that yoga class and if people would notice if I didn't wash my hair...

The other time I got slapped in the face by my own selfishness was on the day the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was ruled on. For those of you who don't know, this was a super exciting time and a really historic day. SCOTUS had basically said, yes! marry who you want. One step closer to free love and equality. Awesome, right? And I was excited! This was good. I want everyone to be happy! Now even more people can  have weddings that I'm jealous of and that I try not to be bitter about.

I get into work that day and log onto gchat and start CHATTING with friends. It's lovely, everyone is all OMG yes the Supreme Court is on the right side of history etc. and I'm like right on! Then I catch a glimpse of my reflection in my computer screen and gasp! My hair, it's terrible. That decision I made not to wash my hair was a bad one (the amount of internal dialogue I have with myself on if I should wash my hair or not is at astoundingly high levels). Clearly, I should have washed it because I was the definition of a bad hair day. I immediately gchat my friend and say something along the lines of: "TERRIBLE HAIR DAY IS ME RIGHT NOW. UGH. LIFE." Then three seconds later my brain wakes up and realizes: Shit you're selfish. Your mind should be on yay gay marriage. And it totally should have been because it would have been a better reflection of what I cared about in that moment. I just got sidetracked.

And this was the second time of late I realized that I have the tendency to ere on the side of self-involvement. 

I swear I want to be better and less all me all the time, but I can't truthfully sit here and write to you that since these two instances I haven't thought about myself the majority of the time. Blah, lame I know. But, I CAN say that I'm trying and I think there has been some marked improvements.

It's hard not to think of yourself all the time, especially when things are going pretty ok in your life. You have the time, the capacity and the resources to really dig deep and focus on me time. And our culture puts a lot of emphasis on self-improvement, on what YOU can do to make YOURSELF better. It's"me" and "I" all day errday. Also, it's pretty fun to think about yourself all the time. I've got no husband (womp womp), I've got no kids, I've got me myself and I. This environment is ripe with the opportunity to turn inward and be all consumed with yourself. Maybe some people are more predisposed to  be selfish or adversely selfless (what a concept!), but I think the issue of self involvement is something that most people could inspect in their lives and see if some improvements could be made. 

A lot of the changes I've tried to start putting into play daily are pretty contingent on generally just being a nicer person. Smiling at people more, saying thank you genuinely and making eye contact when you say it, giving up my seat on the metro, consciously being the first to say "how are YOU?". Being aware is one of the biggest steps to making positive changes in your life, as I've been led to believe by some pretty epic inspirational quotes (a little bit of an obsession of mine). So when I catch myself being consumed by petty thoughts that revolve only around myself, I take a deep breath and shift my focus to something else or someone else. 

It sounds corny, but almost every morning I try to set an intention of being a bright, sparkly light to happiness for other people during that day. Do I achieve that goal a lot of the time? Hell no. Am I a lousy person a lot of the time? Yeah,  probably. Seriously, just ask my mom. She talks to me everyday and most times gets off the phone thinking SPAWN OF SATAN! But the point here is that I try. And if trying gets me inches closer to success of being less selfish and more compassionate towards others, doesn't that basically equate to me hitting a life homerun? AGAIN WITH ME THE ME TALK!  


The takeaway point is to simply make a commitment to be nicer, more compassionate and less self involved in the hopes that you can make someone's day out there. Don't stop being you, just stop thinking about you so much. And by you, I mean me because you all are perfect and awesome. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Some thoughts on Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July you American assholes! I am American so I'm very much referring to myself as an asshole, don't be offended.

Today marks the day that we cut ties from the hotiy toity British and were like HEY I WANNA RUN MY OWN KINGDOM THAT ISN'T REALLY A KINGDOM MORE LIKE A NATION BASED UPON FREEDOM. On July 4th 1776 Amurica penned the Declaration of Independence and said see ya suckers to our oppressors across the pond. And now, here we are today celebrating this momentous historical day with really weird traditions. Can we all just pause for a second and realize how weird holiday traditions are? Like why do gingerbread cookies exist? I'm ecstatic they do! But why? Christmas traditions are for another time and place though, we're here to talk about Independence Day in the good ol' U S of A!

First off, hotdogs. I'm sitting outside at a cafe writing this on July 4th in our nation's capitol and continue to get wafts of hotdog smell. My mouth is watering uncontrollably. But why are these sodium filled penis shaped cured meats a staple of the 4th of July? Does it have something to do with the fact declared in Superbad that foods shaped like dicks are the best kinds? Probably because the truth in this statement is clearly undeniable.

Then there are fireworks which to me are pretty fantastical. How do they work? How does something you set on fire shoot up in the air and depict bright designs in the night sky? What is the science behind this! Who thought it would be cool to shoot colored shit off into the sky really loudly? This seems like a big F YOU to everyone who has ever messed with America. And I dig it. What better way is there to be like excuse me! I'm here and I am the world's leading superpower than setting off fireworks on the holiday of our independence?  

Also, parades. Am I the only one who thinks parades are kind of the worst? What's the point? Maybe this is because crowds are a thing of hell to me, but it seems especially bad on the 4th because it is in the thick of the summer. Heat, sweat, smelly bodies, stickiness. GAG STOP, NO! You're standing for like 3 hours to see people drive past you on floats that usually aren't that impressive. I've only really been to local parades which don't have the budget or the starpower to take parading over the top so I can't vouch for really big name parades, but those big name parades are so crowded anyways you have no chance of getting a good spot to wave at a pageant queen or something like that! So yeah, I'll leave the parade watching to my fellow Americans.

This is pretty much me on July Fourth. I enjoy celebrating things immensely and especially enjoy a day centered around hotdogs and commemorating why I have a wonderful life full of freedom to be who I want when I want. Thanks America! You're the best! Keep being magnificent you! I'm your national anthem.

But mostly this day is worth it because it gives you a reason to play "Party in the USA" on repeat.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

She's the Man

In the midst of all this craziness surrounding Amanda Bynes and her blonde wig, I thought it might be nice to look back on the positives of her career. I really have no commentary on her emotional state or her Twitter wars, but I do have commentary on one of my favorite movies of all time...

She's the Man!

This movie came out in 2006 and has remained one of those movies I randomly watch, always suggest to people and frequently quote. A lot. I feel very shocked by how many people I talk to who haven't seen this movie. I could practically be a walking ad agent, promoting it at every turn. I care about it that much. Does someone want to hire me to do this? So go out and find it somewhere, somehow and watch it asap. I have two copies! I will mail them to you! Please return them in pristine condition! I have an immense and pretty serious DVD collection to take care of!

For those of you who have seen the movie and are fans, yay! I love you. Let's be friends and quote the movie together: "My favorite's gouda!" And for those of you who are not fans -- GET OUT OF HERE! Not really, I'm here to respectfully convince you to change your mind.

She's the Man is a loose adaption of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. A sister pretends to be her brother, there are romantic entanglements, Shakespeare is quoted, the same names from the play are used and that's pretty much the extent of it. If you're looking for a CliffsNotes version of Twelfth Night, watch this and you'll be all set! Just kidding! Don't! I mean, yes, watch this movie and enjoy every morsel of it, but don't expect to ace a quiz on the Bard after. Just expect to feel really fulfilled.

Here are some super great things about the movie:

1. This was basically Channing Tatum's debutante ball, in the sense that She's the Man provided a forum in which Tatum could be presented to teenage girls in all his sexy manliness glory. He's shirtless quite a bit and that is something to be thankful for. Chan Man plays Duke Orsino, the cute guy on campus (what else?) who has a major crush on Olivia to start with, but falls for Violet (Amanda Bynes' character) in the end even though everything he knew about her he learned when she was a boy acting as her brother. DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO EVERYONE? Because it really isn't that confusing. Clearly, it's the classic tale of dressing up like a boy to save your family and then falling in love with someone while you are pretending to be a member of the opposite sex. Happens all the time. Oh and Channing actually has some decent humorous timing in this role.

2. Amanda Bynes dressed up as a dude. I swear, she looks exactly like a guy I went to high school with....who shall remain nameless.

3. Amanda Bynes' facial expressions throughout the entirety of the movie. They're priceless. I could watch them in slow motion and never stop laughing. I wonder if it is possible for my face to do any of these things? I hope that I make faces like these at some point in my day. I think to myself as I make faces in the mirror. Do I really do this? You'll never know. Below are some of the greatest ones, in GIF form of course.

P.S. this was me when I saw a cockroach at yoga this morning.

4. More generally, the comedic presence of Amanda Bynes carries the movie. She IS the man. The movie would be nothing without her and it makes me sad to think that those days may be behind her. But with some support from a community of fans and hopefully, her family and friends she could move past whatever it is she is going through. Britney did!

On that note, I leave you with one of my favorite scenes from the movie.

Friday, June 7, 2013

So I want to be a writer

And here are two quotes from Lena Dunham that make me feel like that could actually be a possibility.

"I would go to work from 9 to 6, go home, nap for two hours, then write from 8 to 2 a.m." 

"I think if you feel like you were born to write, then you probably were."