Tag Archives: career

What I Did While You Were Busy Breeding

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When you turn 30, an odd thing starts to happen. You start noticing the things others chose that you did not. Sometime in our mid 20’s, the ponies start to separate and some folks travel the tried and true path while others seek to forge their own way, riding the coat tails of their passions to the very end.

As Frank Zappa so eloquently puts it:

If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.

Whether you decide to climb the corporate ladder, have babies, travel or launch your own business, do it because you want to. It’s your life. Here’s what I did with mine.

  1. I traveled. I wandered through castle ruins in Wales, rode a horse after one too many beers in Tennessee. I missed trains, got stranded at bus stops, got lost in Rome. I fell in love in London, got stoned at a commune in Copenhagen, looked for witches in Salem, camped with elks in Colorado and experienced the stench of death in New Orleans.
  2. I played roller derby in three different states. Learned to ride a horse, a motorcycle, a plane by myself. I raised a dog.
  3. I had chickens living in my apartment kitchen. Got tattoos. Shaved my head. Traded shoes with drag queens. Wrote a sex advice column.
  4. I moved to Vermont. I moved to Philly. I lived in a sergeants mess in England.  I slept in the back of a car in Brooklyn. I owned a horse, a Ford, a Honda. I helped a sheep give birth on a cold night in New England.
  5. A boy made a movie about me. I worked at a bar where “lingerie lunch” was a thing, a book store, a dry cleaners. I was a hostess.
  6. I wrote a lot. I lost my job and so I launched my own business. I paid my way through Europe with my words.
  7. I dated. I dated a lot. I meditated. I ran. I lost God. I wondered if little girls could be raised by wolves.
  8. I suffered. I witnessed a friend get raped, another take his own life with a rope. I was a bridesmaid. I was a bartender. I was in a burlesque performance – once.
  9. I wanted to publish a book. I practiced yoga. I ate fire.
  10. I found God. Stroked a pet wolf in Portsmouth. Napped in a castle in Cardiff.
  11. Thought about grad school. Thought about marriage. Contemplated babies. Dismissed them all.
  12. Dedicated my hours to my art. Locked myself away for months at a time and honed my skill. I wrote. I wrote. I wrote.
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Welcome to the Winter of Our Discontent

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I think I went a little crazy when I turned 30. I did the typical “Woooo, let’s get drunk and try to take home anything with a pulse and a penis (even that fugly bartender with a nose like a dorsal fin) because I’m sad and lonely and single and things are going to start sagging in the next two years and I still don’t have kids (but do I even want them?) and I’m 30 – did you hear, y’all? I’m 30?!?! LOOK AT MEEE WHILE I TWERK ON THIS TABLE!!! WOOOO YAHHH…Fuck, I think I threw my hip out. Where’s ma drink??”

But other than getting white girl wasted, I really think I lost my mind. I lost my mind in the same way people fall asleep or in love; slowly at first, and then all at once.

This winter has been a hard one. Not because I suddenly realized I’m old, but because things are changing and staying the same simultaneously. People are getting married and having kids and moving to the ‘burbs. Some are making drastic life decisions regarding love and education and career. Still others are in the same exact spot they were at when they were 23, 24, 25. They’re combing the bar for chicks, shopping alone in the frozen food aisle at 3am because they’re stoned and too lazy to cook. And their refrain has become, “I’ll change. I’ll change. I’ll change.” even though I know they won’t.

Do you understand what I’m saying?

My dog died so I bought a puppy. It thinks “No” means “Yes, good boy! Continue eating my Jeffrey Campbells! Atta dog! Shit on the floor! Good dog!”

I’ve been vigilantly stalking a girl who is an uglier version of Courtney Love circa the heroin years. A guy I like who used to like me now likes her and it drives me nuts. I’ll sit for hours browsing through her pictures and each bug eyed, bleach blonde, pouty lipped, baby doll dress, ripped stockings, the 90’s are screaming at you to wake the eff up and realize grunge is dead photo makes me hate myself even more.

I can’t stop buying shit from Free People. Every girl needs a $600 crocheted rose print ruffle frock in her closet!

I got a second gym membership because I hated my first gym. I found a fourth shrink because the first one didn’t “get” me, the second one was too handsome and the third one was too paternal.

I apply for five copywriting jobs in different states every day.

Do you fucking get what I’m talking about?

I am 30 and my refrain is “I’ll change. I’ll change. I’ll change.” But I don’t. You can dress it up any way you want, play semantics and call it “stuck” or “lost.”  But the fact of the matter is I’m 30 and nothing has changed.

Advice for Difficult Women

difficultwoman1.) You’ll feel like you want him more than anything in the world that night. More than winning the Pulitzer. More than babies. He’ll have this face that just devastates. And it’ll be December and you’ll be lonely, thinking that nothing will ever grow again. You’re wrong.

The city will look like it’s on its last legs and then spring will come like an explosion.

Don’t use him as a scratching post for your own loneliness. He may be gorgeous, but he won’t understand when you say you disagree with Rilke’s whole essay about love meaning to deny the self and to be consumed by flames. He will teach you that men desire the satisfaction of desire; a woman desires the condition of desiring. Let him go and go home to your dog.

2.) Fairy tales end after 15 pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets, stories on top of stories on top of stories. Just because that guy left you standing outside the bar in the rain in your best dress or that friend decided you were not worth her time, it goes on. It gets better. There’s is always another chapter waiting for you, and then another, and another…

3.) You may be waiting on a train that’s late or suffering from money problems and believe that your whole life is going to fall apart. These are welcomed respites from the heartbreaks and breakdowns. Don’t lose your mind if the dog shits on the floor or you get a run in your stockings. Life is a series of intense beauty and mundane problems. Save the worry and tears for the big stuff.

4.) In every assumption there is contained the possibility for its opposite. If he doesn’t text you for a day, don’t automatically assume he’s not interested. He may be working late or have been hit by a bus.

If he kisses you sweetly, don’t think he’s promising you the world. He may have a wife and kids or a secret collection of decapitated heads in his closet.

Never jump to conclusions right away. Allow the person to show you who they really are, and then judge.

5.) Be less hard on people. They’re not always out to hurt you. This applies especially true to men. Just because you’re thirty and still single and have dated every guy who lives in the Tri-state area doesn’t mean they’re all fuckwits. Have hope and be soft.

6.) Fear of failure, pride, those last 15 pounds you want to lose, all of these things fall away in the face of death. You will die someday. You are already naked. There is no reason to not follow your heart.

7.) Breath slow, eat slow, take the time to take things in. Don’t always be in such as hurry for the next big thing. Enjoy now. Rejoice in what you have NOW. Your  job, your new puppy, your friends, family, that new guy. These are all blessings. But remember the impermanence of your situation. These things will all be gone eventually, so bask in them now.

Earthquakes, Bukowski, and What it all Means

So there was a 5.8 magnitude quake that rocked the east coast today. I was sitting on my couch working on an article when it hit. At first, I thought I was experiencing something out of Paranormal Activity or Poltergeist and that at any second my television would turn on and start telling me to do awful things to political leaders. I went outside and noticed that my entire block was in an uproar and that apparently, an earthquake had struck the DC area and tremors were felt as far north as New England. Needless to say, I didn’t really feel like working for the rest of the day.

It’s weird to think that this big ol’ planet that we live on can turn on us at any second. Even though we invented the wheel and the Internet and concepts such as religion and philosophy, human beings are really quite delicate creatures. If the sky started falling, all of our phone lines would be busy with people pleading their love for one another. In the end, that’s all any of us really ever want.

Before the whole earthquake pandemic, I had actually been in a great mood. I discovered this stupid Levi’s commercial which is oddly beautifully done. A narrator is reading Charles Bukowski’s “The Laughing Heart,” which is one of my favorite poems of all times. It’s a very inspiring poem, telling you to seek light  and self acceptance in your own life. My favorite part reads:

your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.”

I found inspiration in this poem when I first started out as a fulltime freelance writer. I had some people disapprove of my lifestyle choice, telling me I shouldjust suck it up and get a real job. But I realized, that it’s my life, not theirs. Regardless if I succeed or fail, it’s mine. Mine mine mine. All mine. And I wasn’t willing to ever compromise or settle ever again.

What is the Good Life?

When we are young, our teachers and parents paint us this picture of the “American Dream” – a young, happy couple with a bouncing baby and a Labrador tucked safely into a nice house somewhere in Levittown, USA. There is usually a white picket fence and a high paying cushy office job inserted somewhere in that grand vision.

I’ve been obsessed lately with my version of “The Good Life.” I always thought that after college, I’d get a job. And that after a few years working at that job, I’d find a nice man, settle down, and become a baby making machine. After 18 years of being a homemaker, I’d be about 65 years old, retire to a quiet beach town, and be too old and/or tired to write the Next Great American Novel I’d always wanted to write. After that, I’d become that washed up old lady sitting by herself in some dumpy bar telling the younger generation how great I could have been “if only…”

Over the past year, I deviated from that path. I got laid off from the job I thought was going to be my big break. Losing that job meant losing everything that I had deemed precious in my life. I lost my income, my apartment, the ability to play roller derby (since I no longer had health insurance), my sanity, and ultimately, my diginty. I had to move back in with my folks for a month and figure out my next plan of attack.

I had hoped that I’d get another editorial job with a different newspaper, move back to the city, continue dating the guy I was seeing at the time, and pretty much carry on the way I had been living for the past three years.

I did manage to get another apartment. I also managed to turn down that job at a newspaper I thought I had so desperately wanted and try my hand at freelancing. And my boyfriend at the time ended up dumping me.

So there I was, 27, newly single, back in the city, working from home, and terrified.

Over the next six months, my work became my life. I was obsessed with making a living off of my writing. I wrote, I sent my resume out, I got some clients, I wrote some more, sent more resumes out, and got even more gigs. It came to the point where if I wasn’t writing at least a couple hours each day, I thought I was being lazy.

When I was 23, all I wanted was an apartment in South Philly, a job at a newspaper, and to play roller derby. Within a year, I received all three of those goals.

When I was 27, all I wanted was another apartment in the city and another writing job. And now I have both.

All the evidence points to me being satisfied with the outcome of my life so far. I literally have it all, and I don’t say that to sound cocky. I just can’t wrap my head around what else I would need or want in my life to feel satisfied. I have a great apartment, a wonderful, supportive family, awesome friends, a loving boyfriend, a well behaved dog, and a roller derby team that I can go back to as soon as I get insurance again. I am young, healthy and a size eight with a roof over her head and food in the ‘fridge. And yet, I want more…

But how much more do I need to acquire or work towards to make myself feel okay? How much does it take to satisfy my self worth?