Tag Archives: girl why you gotta be so wordy

musings on the blogosphere;

{world’s end. hingham, massachusetts}

it may or may not be evident, but i’ve been having some, well, perturbed feelings about the world of blogging. warning: please note that the point of this is not to call out anyone, but to call attention to a theme i’ve noticed. after reading this post and having a good skype chat with one of my favorite bloggers, i knew i wasn’t alone in noticing this theme.

i sometimes wonder if i’m missing the point of it. and sometimes i wonder if others are missing the point.

let’s start with the former, shall we?

i get frustrated sometimes, er, a lot of  the time lately. blogging, for me, has been the origin of some of my good friendships. it was a place i could share what i’ve written, experienced, and a good place to mark how much things have changed. i’ve been accompanied to concerts in san francisco. stayed with friends in d.c.eaten soy froyo with one of my favorite boston bloggers. eaten vegan brunches with people that make me feel like i’ve known them for ages. and this is all amazing and, if it weren’t for this little spot of mine on the internet, that i treat almost as if it’s my child of sorts, i would not have had the pleasure of any of the above. and i’ve read some amazing blogs; blogs where they let you into your world and don’t expect anything in return (commenters, followers, sponsorships, etc.) and these are the blogs i respect so much and comment on as much as possible, and make efforts to get to know better, because i appreciate the sacrifice they put in their blogs.

and i put a lot of effort into this little space. i spend hours on this space. i pore over different things i can write about, making sure nothing has been written about before, nothing has become too cliche in the 20-something blogging world (and there are lots of those), and nothing comes out that isn’t in my authentic voice. non-fiction is my absolute favorite form. it’s sacrificial, it’s awkward sometimes, and it’s often absurdly personal. and if you take a non-fiction class with me in college you will quickly wonder if i am ever going to run out of bizarre stories to write about (subjects: a man-friend who was “allergic to me”, my eating disorder, and a foray into public indecency, shhhhh).   and i hope that each post on whatever,gatsby can get to that point. maybe not the public indecency part, but i think you get my point.

the crux of my frustration is where the latter point comes in. i read a lot of blogs. a. lot. and have for years. cycling blogs, food blogs, healthy living, fashion, personal, crafting, animal… i’ve read it. and something i’ve noticed is a rampant case of “the samesies”. yes, the samesies. which seems impossible, don’t you think? we’re all these different, delightful little pockets of stories and experiences and memories, so why do we all sound the same?

{boston bloggers event with some of my favorite bloggers. anna. jenna. me. emily}

in some ways i find some of these blogs, like people, to be safe. they tread lightly, hoping to not rock the boat so much. i continue reading, hoping that i might learn something different; i might not have to sift through largely unoriginal material, i might not have to read (or not read) dumps of instagrammed photos without a narrative of any sort, i might not have to see blogs started four months ago with huge sponsorships and millions of followers when they spend multiple posts talking about minutiae (new wrinkles on their faces, what they ate for each meal that weekend, gratuitous pictures of their pugs). i stumble on these blogs because i hope they might have something to teach me, but quality shouldn’t be inferred by clicking on their link after seeing an overdone “ooh, cute!” comment on a favorite blog, but anyways. back at the ranch.

it bums me out sometimes. i don’t agree with it all the time. because i’ve never been a fan of safe things.  and while i know that not everyone wants to get suuuuuuper personal on their blogs, i can’t fathom being able to blog truthfully without exposing when things aren’t always perfect and in a walden filter and always at the most flattering angle and always with a perfect tan after a perfect summer beach day in your new target swimsuit and sunhat and oh-hey-someone-brought-sangria-oh-wow.

because i wonder if these people have been able to foster some great friendships from their blogs, and actual genuine interaction with people. just like in life, what’s the point of talking or living or breathing or writing if nothing that comes out is actually of your own design or intention? and while i can’t control the blogs themselves, i can control two things: whether i follow them and the content i choose to put up here.

{this is arguably my best look. playing a vengeful, dead ex-wife for my friend’s horror film}

i hope that whatever, gatsby never gets into the samesies category, which is why i can assure you, dear reader, that never will i ever:

-put up schmoopy couple photos in some sort of field (where are they finding all of these fields?!)
-post self-taken, non-ironic, glamour shots.
-post an “oooh! cute!” comment on your blog.
-posts with only pinterest pictures in them. no words. nothing.
-hold back a bizarro story to the best of my ability.
-gratuitous photos of just me. pouting. with red lipstick on.
-posts with only instagrammed photos (sans words and stories).
-not talk about andrew garfield’s inherent dreaminess (this is a reading check. still here?)

things i will do?
-talk about my love of wearing old spice deodorant (guys, it’s the bomb).
-web cam photos of when i played a vengeful dead ex-wife for my friend’s horror film (see above).
-some hopefully interesting posts on durham + charleston (soon!), life, the universe, and everything. in an untimely manner, because that’s authentic.
-get even more personal with you all in the next few months. because what’s the point of censoring myself on my own internet space?
-put up schmoopy photos of me kissing my dogs. naturally.
-more texts from my mother.
-borderline-unflattering photos of myself jumping.
-more poetry. because my love of it rivals that of men’s deodorant, and writing things that would make most people cringe (i.e) like white girl raps.

think of this as your reader’s bill of rights of sorts.

so with that being said, i’m going to go sit in a field somewhere (in a zooey deschanel-style dress, naturally) and talk about my “perfect” weekends. let’s hope someone captures the moment with a dslr and puts it on tumblr or pinterest.

“i’ve got a perfect body ’cause my eyelashes catch my sweat”;

realizing that my limbs aren’t just there to look nice is always an interesting lesson. realizing that, when i was seventeen, i never could relate to any of the “real girl” models in seventeen magazine and being okay with it. they never had tips that suited my short pixie hair cuts that i gave myself in my garage on particularly humid floridian afternoons in july (and again when i was nineteen, whoops). all i can think about is how cool it is that my hair is just a bunch of long strands of dead protein.

realizing that the body does really cool things like convert just-eaten bananas to muscle and energy (i mean, it’s much more than that. but i digress) is far more fascinating than finding out what size pants your friend wears at forever 21 (and to those girls who actually inquire about your friends’ sizes, i just.. ijustdon’tunderstandyou).

to be quite frank, i’d much rather have my legs covered by my favorite pair of bike shorts on their way to a place they’ve never been before. or covered in mud. god, i could write a whole novel about how much i like mud and getting muddy. or stained by the grass. or sticky with accidental cherry-red popsicle stains from an intermission at contra dancing. my body does cool things every second of the day. even when i’m sleeping.

a few weekends ago i had the pleasure of biking the boston marathon route at midnight. my old roommate remarked half way through the ride, “man, mackenzie. you have very nice, long legs.” at first i was flattered. and then i wanted to say, “these legs just biked thirteen mile. that’s not the point?!” but then i stifled myself because i like to keep my angry fire breathing feminist dragon at bay. and because my mother always taught me to take a compliment.

it’s taken me a while to get to this point. it’s taken a lot of listening to regina spektor’s “folding chair” on repeat to solidify this idea that a perfect body is one that has eyelashes to catch sweat.  it’s taken a lot of eye-opening eve ensler ted talks like this one to realize that twenty year olds don’t need to feel bad about upper arm jiggle because it allows them to converse or relate with other twenty year old girls. i just want to shake those girls and say “your legs and torso GOT you to this clothing store. isn’t that amazing?!” to become disembodied from your own body is the saddest thing you can ever let happen. because really, i don’t even know what size i wear at forever 21, so why should you?

my body enjoys at least two cups of half-caf iced instant coffee a day with soy creamer. it doesn’t mind the feel and the history of thrifted clothing. it feels coziest on electric blankets, on a road bike going across the mass ave. bridge, and on my wooded floor when i have the time for my “diy-mani-pedi-’twilight zone’-viewing-hour”. it thrives off of new linguistic factoids, a new library book, a new route. if it could be described as any piece of clothing that i own, my body would be my knee-high mustard-colored boots.

it’s not here to look good. that’s not the point.

i binged on fun at remuda ranch, part 3;

{valti and i, renfrew. 2005. }

for a long time after i left remuda, i never wanted to be tied back to my stay there. i had my t-shirt, my internal battle scars, and that’s all i wanted. i didn’t want to be “that girl with an eating disorder”, because i knew how they had been misperceived as “vain”, immature, or attention-seeking. once i finally gave myself permission as a human being to eat what i wanted, a long and arduous battle of the wits, i tried as hard as i could to distance myself further from that persona that i knew the people from my past distantly remembered.

i threw out my long-standing vegetarianism in high school and went to haiti with my church youth group to haiti, ate goat and fresh caught lobster with gusto, and prided myself on my “insatiable” appetite. i wore clothes that made me feel comfortable, not cute, or attention-seeking. baggy button downs and stretchy jeans became my mainstays and they helped me feign comfort with myself. i forced myself to eat a lot on first dates with guys because i never wanted them to think i was insecure about how i looked.  i slowly but surely became comfortable with myself, but not after feigning it for a year or two. i made bad jokes often. i forced myself to dance around campus and blow bubbles during lunch time (true story. i was so “manic pixie dream girl” that it was kind of disgusting). i was trying to throw everybody off the scent that i might have spent my entire freshman year of high school devising ways to hide food with a feeding tube shoved down my nose.

until now. because i realize more than even that now, as a recovered anorexic, to turn my back on those who aren’t recovered. to withhold my story of how i eventually got better was intensely selfish. when i was in treatment, it was so predominant how little you heard of recovered girls and boys who had passed through the doors of the treatment center. you might hear one or two success stories, but they always had a tinge of a “eh, it’s only a matter of time before they relapse” at the end of them. no happily ever afters involving being able to go to buffets and not have a panic attack. no images of eating cake without sobbing an hour later. when those things are totally possible. i realized that if i could confidently eat a plate of fried goat in the house of a haitian pastor, and risotto with a smile on my face and a question of what was for dessert, that others could too. as the girl who found herself hiding her head in couch cushions rather than interacting with others for fun, i knew that yelling my story from the mountain tops was not only needed, but essential.

i can now say with confidence that i am not afraid of being associated with my eating disorder now, five years after my last relapse. it’s a part of my life that is great in the past tense, as it should be. but i’m not afraid of telling my story in the present tense. because it’s true. and because it will always be there, but that doesn’t mean it should be swept underneath a rug. that’s an insult to all the girls who haven’t heard enough success stories. when people find out that i suffered from anorexia, they always seem shocked. “wow, you just seem so confident and comfortable,” they’d say. and that is true to an extent. i am confident, because i don’t think there is any other way to think of yourself other than the number one advocate of yourself. and i’m comfortable because i surround myself with comfortable people, and we cheer each other on. and in a way, i sort of find myself wanting for people to remember that i went through that part of my life. i want them to see that yes, i did pride myself over how little i could eat. and yes, i couldn’t stand for more than five minutes sometimes without fainting.

i want something entirely different to be what they deduce from meeting me. not that i am the furthest point away from a girl with an eating disorder, but that i am someone who grew off of that eating disorder. to look at me now, look at what a scared, little anorexic girl can be.

i binged on fun at remuda ranch, part two;

…for part one, click here.

…for part three, click here.

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{ me, mackenzie, katie, katherine. reppin’ sagebrush house.}

The next week I was in a cold stupor, swaddled in another one of my signature men’s sweatshirts, being driven by my resolute mother to Renfrew, an eating disorder treatment center right outside of the high-class, glorified retirement community of Boca Raton, Florida. I thought of Rachel and whether or not she would have agreed to the fun ride I was about to embark on.  The girls I met at Renfrew had invented so many ways in order to not derive pleasure from their food, that it was almost monk-like. The first time I set eyes on the three girls that greeted me at the antiseptically clean entrance of Renfrew, feeding tubes in their noses, I knew I had found my new best friends. Within the week I had a handy feeding tube of my own, decoratively taped to the side of my nose for me to feed on what is essentially baby formula in small enough doses while I slept, so my body wouldn’t go into shock by being nourished for the first time in months.

We all matched, which is important when you’re fourteen in any context. Nicki, Bri, and Katie shaped my entire short stay at Renfrew. We were like a chain gang in a prison, teaching each other tricks on how to get through the place, all its strictly regulated meals, and the fact that you were monitored whenever you had a bowel movement to make sure you didn’t barf up your tofu pomodoro. What most people don’t know is that there is a skill to eating and there is a skill to starving. When you have anorexia specifically, enjoying your food is a no-no. Starving is your higher power, and to derive selfish pleasure from eating is to sin in the religion. You pray five times in the direction of hope, hope that you will transcend your own mediocrity. You’re never quite good enough of a person to eat. “There are starving, poor kids in Bangladesh that don’t eat so why should you, bitch? Put down your fork,” is the usual, soothing little Hitler voice that whispers in the back of your head if you’re even close to eating anything other than a bag of garden salad mix as a snack. So you put sugar on your spaghetti with tomato sauce. You mix mustard surreptitiously into your chocolate milk, when the food monitors aren’t looking. You live every day like you’re about to eat the most disgusting body part of an animal from the show “Fear Factor”. If you couldn’t starve yourself in a treatment center, you sure as hell weren’t going to enjoy any of that eggplant parmesan.

These girls taught me so much; how to steal the butter packets for your toast in the morning so you could throw them out and  save 100 calories (you stack those bad boys and slip them up your sleeve), how to steal salt packets so you could make your body retain water so they would think you were gaining weight and lower the calories in your meal plan, and I’m pretty sure they would have taught me how to carve my own personal shank if my insurance hadn’t cut out. We were diabolical. We were dumb. And they quickly became my best friends and my biggest saboteurs.

Twenty pounds gained and twenty seven days later, my mother’s insurance company thought I had made enough progress so they discharged me on account that I was now in my weight range. Such is the heartbreaking aspect of eating disorder treatment. You are simply a number on the insurance’s radar, and once your BMI pleases them they kick you out and there you are again at home, hiding tofu pomodoro in your trash can and rubbing your belly over how delicious it was, a faint gurgle of acid sloshing in your stomach in the background.

It only took me four weeks of butter-hiding and fainting on the tile to land myself back into the local hospital, this time twenty five pounds lighter. I made friendly with the nurses. I crocheted them all scarves for Christmas as they tried to placate me with chalky pink, strawberry ice cream-like drinks that were loaded with thigh-expanding calories. “Because, yes, I’d LOVE to drink a drink that mimics another highly caloric drink. Load me up,” I thought to myself each time my loving nurse would enter my room with a fresh batch of future fat cells.  Needless to say, these drinks ended up in the sink and I spent my days crocheting and sobbing silently to myself as I watched Christmas cartoons and botoxed QVC saleswomen try to sell me electric blankets. I fell asleep to the faint purr of my feeding tube apparatus once again, and two weeks passed as slowly as the watered down nutritional powder went through my digestive system.

My eyes, habitually blurred by tears and poor eyesight due to malnutrition, could finally see how low I was; I was almost fourteen years old, it was two weeks until Christmas, and I still didn’t know how to regulate my own body temperature. No one was there to braid my brittle hair or to gossip with me about how hot my doctor was. I became chummy with the hospital chaplain who came to visit and bond with me over a QVC series or three, rather than the sassy high school freshman girl friends I had grown up with. He didn’t know much about painting nails, but he was all I had and he never asked me how to catch an eating disorder. Which is really all you need, after all.

Fifteen pounds gained in fifteen days, the nightmare of most people on Jenny Craig, and out I was from the hospital. The scarf-clad nurses, my hot doctor, and my hospital chaplain waved to me from the entrance of the hospital, and I think we were all in solidarity of just how screwed I was.
——

A month later I saw my mother cry for the first time one afternoon before I was admitted to lucky treatment center # 3, and she wasn’t watching “The Notebook” or any movie with Richard Gere in it. She was crying because of me. She was watching her only daughter waste away. And I didn’t know how to stop myself from letting this rapid deterioration take its hold over me. I was fourteen years old and I was just becoming another anorexic casualty. I was just becoming another statistic for Pat O’Brien to announce in his ever-so-nasally voice on “Access Hollywood” whenever a petite, hungry starlet fainted on set of her newest film.

But we’re not all hungry prospective starlets, us disordered eating girls. No, we’re far more than that. If I learned that anywhere, I learned that at Remuda Ranch, where I binged on fun. Oh, how I binged on fun.

My mother woke me at 5:30 am in order to catch our flight to Arizona from Florida, and I grumbled as I put on one of my many sweatshirts to cover my bony frame. We flew into Phoenix, the smog greeting us as we exited the airport. A plump woman with a mullet greeted us with a sign that read “Mackenzie- Remuda”, and for an instant I felt like a celebrity. She ushered us to a nondescript, white van and off we were on a two hour drive to Wickenburg, Arizona, home to one of the highest concentrations of treatment centers for meth addicts, alcoholics, and girls like me, with garden-variety eating disorders.

We drove up to a series of faux- southwestern houses, each housing what would be home to a combined total of sixty girls from 14-18 years old. After a few minutes spent checking myself into the center with my mother, they kindly asked her to leave, and I was left like a puppy who wasn’t done weaning in a cardboard box on the side of the road. “Well, Mackenzie. I never could afford to send you to summer camp and look,  it’s like you’re at summer camp!” My mom joked as she went back to board the van to catch her flight back to Orlando. They then asked me sit down in a hard, wooden chair that only hurt my bony ass even more and engaged me in a staring contest as they told me that I would need to eat some broth, steamed vegetables, a roll, and a innocuous-seeming glass of orange juice. I won the staring contest and used my one “Get Out of Lunch” pass and off I was to meet the thirty girls I would  bond with over taking glorious craps, and getting our periods for the next two months of my eventful life.

I hated everything for the first two weeks. I hated the cacti. I hated the fact that the nurses were too smart for my butter-hiding tricks and I got caught all the time. I hated craft-times. And I hated the fucking donkey of a horse they made me ride as “therapy”. I fell back into my old habit of shoving my face into the closest collection of cushions and feigning sleep. I didn’t speak to anyone who wasn’t capable of getting me anti-depressants. I got so close with my therapist, Mike, that we had a secret handshake, but no hair-braiding fun was to be had. I had delusions of grandeur that we’d all be the best of friends like my feeding-tubed friends at Renfrew. My roommate, Virginia, ended up running away my first night, was caught, and subsequently given a tranquilizer in the right butt cheek. I spent my first night falling asleep to her half-delusional mumblings. The girls came off as clique-y to me and I decided I’d rather read depressing memoirs from the Holocaust in “school” than interact with the girls. At one point in time, an innocent girl asked me what my favorite music was at snack time, in attempts to get to know me. I answered with a stoic “I don’t really listen to music.” In short, I was the worst. I wouldn’t even be my friend.

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{me, courtney, katie}

Two weeks and thousands of calories pumped through my nose later, a girl named Katie walked through the door and I claimed her as my own. She made a dirty joke, whispered softly because this was a Christian-based treatment center, and I practically got down on one knee and asked her to be my bulimic BFF. Because of her, craft-times became bearable. She was the Abbott to my Costello and we finished each others jokes like we had been practicing them in between our monitored bowel movements in the bathroom, the nurses as our audience. We pinched each other whenever the other was close to falling asleep in one of the six, count ‘em six, church services we had to attend each week. None of which were on Sunday. Go figure.

We hit on the guy who delivered the snacks to our house (“So, Frank, what you got for me tonight? [insert wink face here].”) We speculated possible romances between the therapists and the nurses (“Did you see Dr. Hegybeli undress nurse Candy with his eyes? Totally raunchy”). A week later and we added Courtney to our clan, a free-spirited, curly-haired former coke-addict from Los Angeles and bam, we were the Charlie’s Angels of Remuda Ranch.   Humor was all we had. When a list of rules is presented to you on your first day (“No running. No fast-walking. No shaking your legs”) you have to make your fun any way you can, especially when you start to notice that none of your clothes fit you anymore and the cutest guy you’ve seen in a month is Frank the Snack Guy. It got to be contagious and soon all of the girls in our house began to find the humor in everything. You’d see them slowly but surely lip-dub over multiple viewings of the only G-rated movies we were allowed to watch. And I can tell you honestly, that to this day I have never heard a lip-dub- commentary of “Veggie Tales” and “Gone With the Wind”  done any better than a group of thirty malnourished teenage girls.

———

One day in craft hour, we were advised to choose a wear-able craft that we could all don in solidarity. Since I had never been to summer camp, I was excited at the prospect of having something wearable to note that I had gone through this with others. This treatment center was our Vietnam, it gave us war stories, but instead of mangled limbs we decided upon bedazzled t-shirts and puff paints. A good trade off, I thought.

A lull fell over the craft-room all of a sudden. Not a pair of snipping scissors or googly eye was heard in the hush. We had no idea what to put on the t-shirts. And really, what do you put on a t-shirt as a souvenir for going to a treatment center? Surely, not a smiling hypodermic needle, nor would it be politically correct to put any sorts of smiling pills, beer bottles, or feeding tube apparatuses. “How about ‘I Binged on Fun at Remuda Ranch?’,” I suggested meekly, not sure if the counselors would approve of my joke. I had grown up on the outskirts of Orlando, home of at least six theme parks. I was used to tourist kiosks with t-shirts sporting similar phrasing, telling how they “survived” Splash Mountain or some other easy feat. But us girls, we had survived shit. Despite our jovial natures, we were hyped up on a grocery list of anti-depressants. Most of us had lost parents, gone through traumatic divorces, rapes, or natural disasters. We put all of those “survivors” of Splash Mountain to shame. We deserved our t-shirts. It was a visible battle scar that we were all going to wear proudly.

A week later, we each had our own “I Binged on Fun at Remuda Ranch” t-shirt, puff-painted to our individual tastes. Some people had simple “I Starved Myself of Sadness” or “I Barfed Up My Depression at Remuda Ranch” phrases on their own t-shirts, but for the most part we matched. Not with our feeding tubes, nor with our plummeting weights. We matched with our resolute solidarity of getting better. We realized through our own lack of inhibition, the fact that we were stripped of our privacy (full-body searches were common), our choice of what we wanted to eat, and our crazy teenage girl hormones, that we were gloriously flawed.

Remuda Ranch was everything I had never seen in Lifetime movies. Eating disorder recovery is seen as sad, arduous, and not a worthwhile endeavor. “You’ll never fully recover,” says every eating disorder specialist ever. “You’ll always hear that little Hitler of self-doubt in your head,” they’d remind me. And they were true in a way, recovery is an every day goal. Everyday you have to decide to eat that bran muffin. To remember you’re worth each morsel of food you approach with your mouth. It begins as a check list of things to do; an unnatural set of goals like eating all of your breakfast, making sure you actually leave your house and talk to other human beings, and breathing. We were not all fainting ballerinas and as I realized the moments they realized their lives were worth living, I realized that I wanted to as well.

I finally realized this eating disorder was not at all what I had wanted for myself. I didn’t want to live a children’s-size-twelve existence full of measuring cups, “Biggest Loser” reruns and living my life vicariously through my “The Sims” characters. I might not have been a starving child living in Bangladesh, but I was worthy of a pizza slice, or two. I had found my worth in humor, my worth in making Frank the Snack guy feel awkward, and my inability to see the last eight months of my life as anything other than life-changing.

I stayed at Remuda Ranch for a total of three months.  I turned fifteen there, a candle in a perfectly-portioned cupcake that I didn’t even freak out about eating. I began to listen to music again, like a normal human being. I began daydreaming about things in my future, something I hadn’t done in months. I gained forty pounds, thirty new friends, and way, way too many dirty jokes about “Veggie Tales” for a fifteen year old girl to be trusted with.

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{a good ol’ fashion eating disordered dance party. not too much movement, of course.}

on who i am at the moment;

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at this moment in time…

….i’m much more content going to concerts solo. crocheting on a friday night and listening to songs like these. spend the evening prancing around beacon hill, arm in arm with a small group of friends.

i’m so, so, so hopeful. of everything. of the future book i dream about finishing. of the mountain-top home that will house me and my pack of dogs post-graduation. of this glittery city that i luckily call home. even so hopeful of the next book i want to read and the next pot of coffee i will make. the hope is getting scattered everywhere and i’m in no hurry to clean it up.

i’m so at peace when i find myself daydream about my thesis (i don’t graduate until 2013. i am gross). when i listen to my coffee grinder grind up my coffee for my french press. when i glance over my book to catch a look-see of the charles when my train car crosses over it.

i’m in disbelief that in a month i will get to go home for the first time in six months. i will get to see my platonic soul mate. and eat black bean burgers at my favorite deli. and eat tofu stir-fries at my favorite chinese restaurant. actually, all of my excitement is wrapped up in eating, so i will stop while i’m ahead.

i’m my own best company. i’m my own best friend. that is not to say i am some hermit, but what it really boils down to, i have this bubbling little cauldron of happy in me that i alone have made for myself. and that’s an important distinction, don’t you think?

i’m really loving the collection of baubles and moments i call my life. from squirrels crawling on my lap. to getting mauled with love by puppies in beacon hill. to my hilarious romantic misadventures (someday i will have to chronicle those. they are too ridiculous to not to be told). to being quidditch team mom. i’ve perched all of them on my dresser to gaze at them, in all their misshapen, yet endearing, loveliness.

 

{photos courtesy of the lovely maya munoz}

let’s get out of here, future manfriend;

dear future manfriend,

i think honesty is the best policy. i really, really do. i believe in a complete laying out of my quirks and idiosyncrasies like a traveling salesman spreading out all of his half-used, rickety products for sale.

keeping that in mind, every few months or so i get this tingling in my fingers, specifically my “travelocity.com URL typing” fingers.

i have an extremely hard time sitting still, you see. i spent two hours on amazon looking at luggage. the image of a packed suitcase is enough to get my heart pumping. once you get the sweet taste of airplane cabin air, your plane neighbor chuckling to himself over “happy feet” playing on the tvs, and notes on altitude flooding your brain it’s hard to shake off the magic spell of traveling.

it’s in my clothes, it’s in my hair, it’s in my skin. i can’t shake that magic out if i tried.
and now i find myself in this place that i love, but that i’d love to run away from for a little while. i’ve been out of practice, you see. i’ve sat in one place for the last six months that just sitting my whimsical self on a commuter rail train to the outskirts of boston is enough to get my gears going.
i’ve tried to describe to myself what not traveling makes me feel like. it makes me feel stagnant. i feel kind of stale at times. and like i just described to a friend in an ever-so-eloquent facebook chat, i feel like “the universe just took a dump on my soul”.

i sometimes worry this plane-ticket temptation of mine might cause you to flee. i sometimes worry sitting still is an art that i’ve never really ever considered mastering. i signed a year lease two months ago on my apartment and i’m still amazed with myself.travelocity’" seems to be subconsciously typed on my computer every other day. i’m not sure at what point i will be okay with sitting still, but  when that day comes i will welcome it like an extended house guest in my apartment whose lease still shocks me.

so i offer you this quirk, if you will. i’m a little bit much to deal with. and just like a product pushed on your like a traveling salesman, you can feel foolish for buying into it whenever you look at it at a distance. but i hope my laundry list of quirks (singing while dishwashing, my foreign-children’s-book buying problem, drinking iced coffee in the winter, silly socks) will make you want to come along with me on these silly, little escapades with me. will make you humor my tendencies to flee.

or better yet, make me sit still for once.

your future nomad-lady friend,

me.

veganism, labels, and lobster dreams;

you may have noticed or you may be learning this for the first time.

i’ve crossed over to the slightly darker side.

let me explain. i swear i have a good argument.

i started getting these dreams. these vivid, tasty dreams. yes, dreams of lobsters.more specifically speaking, dreams of eating lobsters.

i know, i know. please hold your gasping for later.

my first thought was, “no! that lobster has a family! he has to provide for his little lobster family! why must his claws be so tasty? WHY?” and that the fact that i have this t shirt would officially be ironic.

i kept these thoughts secret for months as i choked down my tofu curries. until finally, i couldn’t have it any more. i was living in new england, in the summertime, and i still had not eaten the ridiculous sandwich that is the lobster roll.

and so, needless to say, without a thought of what other vegans, peta, ingrid newkirk, or an unsuspecting lobster family would think, i conceded. i went to the kitschiest dive bar my friend and i could find and i prepared myself mentally for the event. i answered tedious questions that were being asked on jeopardy on the bar’s television as i let my friend order for me. 20 minutes and many answers yelled at the tv later, the moment had finally come. i had a lobster roll placed in front of me. actually, two lobster rolls. for some reason fate has a sense of humor and misheard my friend’s order, and so an order of “double lobster rolls” were placed in front of me. two lobster families sacrificed for me.

i’m sure those lobsters were the breadwinners of their families (plankton-winners?) and they spent afternoons pushing their little lobster children on little lobster swings in little lobster playgrounds. they made politically incorrect  jokes about crabs to their families over dinner. and lobster fathers gave their lobster daughters away at lobster weddings. but i pushed those thoughts out of my mind ate my multiple lobster rolls as i yelled at alex trebek.

and holy jesus. i’d been converted. soon, i started to travel to the progressively darker side, then went back to the light side, and then gosh darnit, the egg sandwich dreams began. and we all know how those go, right?

and so here i am. this little amorphous blob of labels, opinions, and dreams of food products. and even through 1.5 years of veganism and countless years of vegetarianism, of holding my tongue when questioning my choice in becoming vegan, of whispering “i’m vegan” when invited to family gatherings, of only eating the potatoes (and mojitos..wait, what?) at my cousin’s wedding because that was the only vegan thing they had, i realized one simple thing: i’m 20 years old and if i’m having dreams about eating lobsters, i should eat the damn lobster. that is not to say i am going on a lobster-eating rampage (truth be told, i ate it once and then i got creeped out and haven’t really wanted to partake in eating them since), pillaging the ocean of all their crustaceans. quite the opposite.

but i will say that labels just further you from the point of being a vegan. it shouldn’t be something you say to appear as noble, cool, or trendy.  you should abstain from eating animals due to your ethics, beliefs, or if dreaming of lobster families creeps the hell out of you. i will admit, dairy is something i still will never find myself eating. but egg sandwiches, lord mercy, they have been a welcome addition. do i still love animals dearly? of course. do i still care for their welfare? yessiree. but do i think that being vegan is the only option in order to show that i care deeply about these things? not necessarily.

this might lead me to have nightmares about little chicken families. this might lead me to guilt for a few months. and ingrid newkirk might throw tomatoes at my door. but life is too short not to eat egg sandwiches when you really, truly want to.

so if you will allow me, i have to jet. i have to make it to a lobster family dinner. we’re going to crack some crab jokes over some plankton-loaf.

just a note, future gentleman caller;

long time no talk, future gentleman caller.

like i said before, i really do think i am more than deserving of rugs of verdant greens and fiery crimsons to roll out in front of me.

i’m a twenty year old girl who knows that opened doors aren’t just a relic of old fashioned niceties. i know that appreciative side glances from across crowded rooms are what i deserve. and being walked under the orange lights that always seem to surround bus stops are more than appreciated.

after the episode of last weekend, where i found myself with a lack of these little bits of lovely scattered around, i knew with a searing certainty that your existence was even more plausible.

it seems like it would be the opposite, doesn’t it?

but no, i knew that the rocks in my stomach were even more of an indication that i needed to let what was left to just die off, to suck the poison out, to get rid of the thought process that i was getting the maximum when i really getting the bare minimum.

i know you’re there. i know you’re running furiously towards me, just like my dear emily made it so clear to me.

and i know that the day will come when i can count on a bus-stop companion. and the man who will kiss me and often and with more feeling than i can even imagine at this present moment in time. and a man who could stun me from across a room with that appreciate glance, and who can make my bones buzz just by being in my orbit in that same crowded room. the same man who can make my heart go aflutter, but also make sure i don’t float too high off the ground.

a man who isn’t straight out of a katherine heigl movie, but is better than any idealistic bit of fiction, because he likes faulkner more than what is deemed healthy. and likes only to eat graham crackers with his milk. and sometimes eats the core of an apple when no one is looking. and secretly sings along to showtunes.

 

who makes me feel lucky in that moment where i too can look at him across the room, with my bones buzzing and say with a rhythm and a cadence, “that one. he’s mine”.

who feels lucky when i sing the bee-gees when i do the dishes, with soapy water up to my elbows.  when i find it hard not to slide across my wooden floors when i wear knee socks. and when i read cookbooks like they are novels. who feels honored when i show him my favorite places.

i guess what i’m getting at, really and truly, future gentleman caller. is that i want someone who deserves me and i deserve as well.

up to my elbows in bubbles, waiting patiently for you,
future ladyfriend.

boston, i forgive you;


dear boston,
i knew it was coming. i knew it was an inevitability.
i hate to be a part of that class of people who thinks that when things are too good for such a long stretch that something bad just has to happen.

i’d very much prefer to think  that there are hidden pots of fairy dust underneath your cobblestones. that covered my shoes and guided me to all of the niceties i have since encountered.

i knew my supply was running low on saturday. running late to work. my purse broke. a banana for a late snack exploded all over the contents of said purse. attempting to drink my feelings by way of a tea latte at my favorite tea shop ended in me tripping across massachusetts avenue, scraping my knee, spilling tea all over myself, and looking like a flustered young lady who had missed out on the grace gene.

then, there was a chance for some sort of redemption once i got off work. slightly burnt pizza slices with someone i was really quite taking a liking to. the night seemed to be lightening up under fluorescent lights of a harvard square pizzeria. or so i thought. i was perfectly fine with just nursing a burnt hand back to health, but a confused heart is another story.

boston, i just want you to know something. loud and clear. i am even going to enunciate this to you so that you understand my point without question. i’m not one of those girls who doesn’t know what she deserves. who doesn’t know her value. who doesn’t know that she deserves to be walked home when it gets too late. or told early on in the night that it just wasn’t going to work instead of being rudely woken up by the news.

i put so much effort into doing the dishes, you can’t even imagine how much work and effort i put into the other avenues of my life.

i deserve a say. i deserve the chance to yell for what i want. i deserve to be fought for. i deserve opened doors and walks back to the subway and a fluttering heart on my way back home. i deserve to have the city roll out rich, ornate rugs out in front of me.

yes. yes, i do.

i forgive you for now, boston. but i will let you know one last thing: i am going to sit here patiently waiting for all these things, my hands wide open to collect all those things i deserve.

i carry a home;

i carry a home inside of me. it may not be very large. or filled with ornate furnishings. or play classical music over the sound system. but it is filled with vampire weekend’s “contra”, the soundtrack to all of my travels both permanent and temporary.

each off beat rumble of the drum of that album reminds me of chicago, of late night gallivanting around lincoln park and inside beautiful libraries. of san francisco and being ambushed by bernese mountain dogs at crissy fields.  each obscure little reference in the songs brought me back to boston and being so invigorated by the academia and the fiery leaves and the young boys carrying their cellos and large bass cases up and down boylston street.

and even orlando, though i hate to admit it, was a home for such a long time. the reggaeton streaming in the background. and humid, swampy air that greeted me every time i headed home. fanny pack-clad tourists that i both mocked and secretly felt that if they didn’t exist, the world would be thrown off its axis, they were necessary in a sense. though i could do without seeing the sunburnt, distended bellies of some of the male variety.

each of these places have never felt like home organically or instantly. but they did, because i carry that home inside me. whether it was a week, ten days, or my whole life as of a month ago,  like my seven year old self ,with a glass mason jar full of lightning bugs, i carry that sort of light and familiarity around wherever i go. oh yes, my home is filled with lightning bugs. more than you could even imagine. lightning bugs and lyrics and drum beats and light.

“i see you shine in your way. go on, go on, go on.”