Category Archives: advice

Chillax.

My mother used to have this friend who owned a dozen or so birds. One of the parrots, an African Grey, was half bald on its front side. I remember my mother telling me that when birds were stressed or bored, they’d pluck their own feathers out. I can totally relate.

Lately it seems that everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. I am behind on bills, my back hurts, I’ve gained some weight, I haven’t seen my friends in what feels like ages, work has been insane, the dog has fleas, and I want to grab both sides of my head and scream.

I am a stressful person by nature. Just ask any of my 58483828281 ex-boyfriends and they’ll nod their heads in agreement. My brain is constantly going 150 MPH. I’ve tried therapy, breathing exercises, medication, yoga, even meditation. None of that worked. Especially the meditation. I found myself peeking through my eyelids at the clock every five seconds hoping the hour was up.

It is scientifically proven that constant stress does lead to a shorter lifespan. It raises your blood-pressure, is often a gateway to depression, and affects all other aspects of your life. Twenty-somethings, it seems, are more prone to stress than any other age group. We are trying to juggle blossoming careers, embarrassingly low incomes, busy social lives, going to the gym, dating, etc. etc. etc. We sometimes burn both ends of the candle and forget to sleep. Just the other day I found myself face-first on my keyboard at work and 23 pages of the letter ‘Y’ had been typed where my forehead lay.

You cannot let your worries rule your life. Enjoy yourself. Do not spend time thinking about your bills or any other problems every hour of everyday. The problem will still be there when you wake up in the morning, so why even bother thinking about it the night before? Take a deep breath, and just plow right through it instead of dwelling. Birds look prettier with feathers anyway.

Note to self: When you’ve finally found someone good, don’t go looking for someone better.

I promise not to blog about you if we date. But sometimes I will.

female_blogger_cAmerica is a land of voyeurism. Reality television, webcams, live feed from social networking sites, and other people’s problems – we eat it all up.  This is especially true for people in their twenties who came of age when MTV’s The Real World was still good and AOL was just taking off. 

Blogs are no different. They are  online diaries, simply another way to share unnecessary information about yourself with a world that doesn’t care. Even though the entire planet can read about your inner most thoughts and desires, some people still aren’t capable of understanding this and tend to over-share, writing about things like break-ups and bowel movements and other information that is better left unsaid. I am totally one of those people. 

The idea of complete strangers reading about my life fascinates me, and I think this is why I am so forthcoming with information. I really am not that interesting, but I do have a lot to say. I guess writing it all down on a public forum makes me feel like this one life, my life, is significant and worthy of other people’s curiosity. 

On this particular blog, I try to take events from my own life, such as break-ups and poverty, and create a universal theme that anybody can relate to. It seems that people enjoy reading about things that they are familiar with. If somebody sees themselves reflected in an entry, empathy is usually created and thus they keep reading. It also seems that people my age are so lost. We’re all trying to cultivate some kind of life for ourselves while navigating this brand new thing called “Adulthood.” It’s hard, and I want people to know that they are not alone. 

I want to write about how I have been in a perpetual state of heartbreak for the last couple of weeks now. Winter was never my season. When it’s right around the corner I get a bit like Eeyore. I also just realized that I’ve wasted the last month of my life pursuing a relationship that had been circling the drain since day one. I was just too stubborn to see it. I think I told this particular person that I’d never write about him, so I’ll keep it at that…

Cities can be amazing, wonderful places. They can also be terribly lonely places when you’ve lost your way. 

 

Is that free curb-side futon really worth your physical well-being?

craigslistWhile some thieves are still relying on the ol’ hide-behind-a-bush-and-beat-you-with-a-crowbar technique to mug people, others are becoming more tech-savvy  and using poor Craig to do their dirty work.  The Philadelphia Police Department is warning the public that there has been a rise in local Craigslist-related muggings. The perpetrator places an ad on Craigslist selling a product; when the victim agrees to meet the perp to see or buy the product, an ambush occurs and the victim is robbed, usually at gunpoint. So far, three such robberies have occurred, though police haven’t yet determined if they are related. Be careful and follow the advice of the Police Department: Meet the seller in a high-visibility public space I.E. Starbucks, a bar, etc., and never go by yourself. 

Yay, inadequacy! & dreams, goals, etc.

hang_in_there-1We are a culture driven by our want for more. More money, a higher career status, a prettier wife, a bigger house, bigger boobs, a faster car…

It’s like we are all just constantly comparing ourselves to other people. My generation seems to suffer from the “grass is always greener” complex and this results in us going right from college to grad school, having $10,000 dollars worth of credit card debt, a closet full of designer shoes we will never wear, and commitment phobias.

An old college friend contacted me yesterday and invited me to his book signing in July in NYC. He is 29, gorgeous, and moving to Scotland next fall to earn his PhD in English literature. When he told me about how a small, independent publishing company had published his book of poems, I immediately began seething. This person and I had had a couple of writing courses together and we were both part of the college’s poetry club. I had always thought he was a decent writer, but deep down, I knew I was better. This could have been attributed to the narcissistic tendencies I suffered from between the ages of 19 and 22, but my prose always seemed tighter while his were all over the place and very, very ambiguous. He never did the canon of poetry any justice. 

I also remember a class I had with him my freshman year. It was a religion course and the professor was your typical new age-y, spiritual type who wore patchouli and preferred Raki to Advil. Half way through the semester, my friend just stopped showing up for class. He missed two consecutive weeks. When he returned, he told the professor he had been locked up in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Against all logic, the professor believed him and he ended up receiving an entire letter grade higher than me. Unbelievable. 

My point is, this individual has achieved things that I can only dream of doing. He lived in China, got his MFA in New York City, has a published book, etc. etc. And every time I think about him, I get this angry ache deep down in the pit of my stomach. 

Truth be told, I can probably accomplish all that he has done. He is four years my senior. Yet, there is this wall that I somehow cannot get over. It keeps me from doing everything that I want to do. I find myself making excuses to stay in Philly. There isn’t enough money, I love my friends, I have a good job… But when it gets right down to it, I don’t want to live here any longer than I have to. I need room to stretch my legs. I need an entirely new country before I turn thirty…

Life is not a dress rehearsal. You get one go around. Please, please, please do not let fear get in the way of your dreams. Do every little thing that you want to do and do them when you are still young. And never, ever compare yourself to other people. It’s easier said than done, trust me.

Urban Tribes aka Your BFF’s

untitledI think it is essential, absolutely essential to have a tribe of people to call your own within this urban jungle. Cities tend to be very lonely places without friends. I mean, I’m not commanding you to meet your bff’s for coffee every single day at some kind of Cental Perk-esque cafe, just let them know that they mean the world to you every once in awhile.

I was having a conversation with my mother the other day about relationships. I felt like I had been ditched by some of my friends last week and I was heartbroken. Somehow on television people have a built-in, tight-knit circle of friends whose loyalties are a given and and whose affections never change. I’ve noticed that, in my own life and the immediate satellite lives that orbit mine, this is hardly the case. There seems like there is more of a revolving door of people in and out of my life. We somehow find each other, hang out, have a few drinks, and then eventually we all drift off into our own separate lives. It’s like we’re in a giant pinball machine with lots of balls and lots of places to bounce off of and to. The changing cast makes you grateful for the people from Before, and ofcourse family, the rock whose shadow changes only very, very slowly.

I think we are all just trying to figure stuff out still. It seems like we are all walking around with big chunks of ourselves missing and all of these incomplete people seek one another out for support or to be drinking buddies or to just forget about what our lives have culiminated to.

I was out every night this past Memorial Day weekend with different people. There were barbeques, first dates, brunches with girlfriends, long distance phone calls, and pitcher after pitcher of cheap beer ordered. There were plans made that both parties knew they wouldn’t follow through with, closure, long, silent walks home after last call, and discussions of whether two days was an appropriate length of time to call after a first date. It was a breezy, beautiful time this weekend and it reminded me to be so, so thankful for these people I have in my life. Yes, they are all not perfect. Some are flaky, others are unemployed and bad drunks, but they are all mine. They are my tribe, the people I can count on to be there, the people who make this city bearable.

I Hate Dating

untitledSo, for the first time in quite a few years, I am single. And whether I like it or not, it’s probably going to stay that way for quite awhile.

Last week I made the desperate and pitiful attempt to seek out a rebound. I set my sights very, very low. Low as in he is thirty, still lives with his parents, speaks exactly like Karl Childers character from the movie Sling Blade, and walks like a male pigeon. We had nothing in common except a mutal friend, an unhealthy obsession with zombies, and sore calf muscles.

So, when Mr. You-Are-Suppose-To-Be-My-Rebound-Damnit never called me back and started expressing interest in the mutal friend, my ego deflated like a popped balloon. I then tried to fling myself face first into activity-after-activity with friends, but sometimes 20-somethings are too self-involved to care about a friend in need and thus, I ended up alone in bed with my dog browsing through a self-help book that my mother loaned me.

Anyhow, my question is this: How does one get over a guy quick and efficiently? I’ve been going out almost every day of the week. I got a new haircut, rearranged my apartment, learned how to cook, tried out (and made) the Philly Roller Girl’s Fresh Meat team, but still, after two weeks of trying to keep busy, my heart still hurts. A piece of furniture or a song will remind me of him and immediately, I’ll feel my legs buckle and the water-works turn on. It happened in Target the other day which was really embarrassing.

I think my biggest fear is the loneliness that faces me everytime I enter my apartment. It is too big and too empty. I also don’t want my ex to be thriving without me. It’s hard to imagine him on the other side of the city living a Stephanie-less life and being happy. I understand that the best kind of revenge is to flourish in the wake of the other person. And I am trying to do just that. But I’ve begun smoking again and patrolling Craigslist daily for a cute, available boy.

I need to realize that I am worthy. I am a knock-out. I can stand on my own two feet. I need to get that single-girl swagger. I am a 25 year old, gorgeous, educated, successful, lovable, funny, newly-single woman and I will not settle. I can do this!

So, here is my pact with myself. I will not date for three months. I will not seek self-worth from outside sources. I will learn to cook. I will concentrate on my friends, on roller derby, on my career, on trying to get into graduate school, and on my writing. I will not be needy. I will not be the pursuer. 

And yanno what? I can do this! I will do this. I will let go, grow up, and move on. I will be okay.