Category Archives: friends

Hello, 2011

The new year is upon us, my friends. It seems like just hours ago that I was bidding farewell to 2009, and here I am doing the same exact thing to 2010.

New Year’s has always held a bittersweet feeling for me. It’s kind of like straddling two different chapters of your life in only one night. It reminds me of standing at the state line, one of my feet in Pennsylvania while the other one rests in New York.

2010 was a pivotal year for me. Friendships were made and broken. I lost a very close friend to a deadly illness. I lost my job and moved back home. I went to Europe and also started freelancing full time.

I feel like 2011 is going to be infinitely cooler than 2010. This time last year all I wanted to do was leave the country. I still want to travel and see the world, but my resolution for 2011 is simply to be okay. I want to become at peace with myself and accept myself for who I am, regardless of what I have or what I lack.

What’re your resolutions? What do you hope 2011 holds?


Goodbyes are never easy

Have you ever spent an entire afternoon in an airport terminal watching people? Of course you haven’t. But if you ever were to, you’d notice the emotion, raw as a nerve ending, radiating off of the people saying goodbye to their loved ones.

Goodbyes are never easy. Back in late April, I lost a very, very dear friend of mine. I had known him for six years and even though we didn’t talk on a daily basis, he was one of the lights of my life. He lived two hours away and about every other month or so we’d get together over drinks and share stories of heartbreak, courage, and the day-to-day grind of living. 

He passed away in his sleep. The news hit me like a one-two punch straight in the gut. My legs buckled and my world suddenly became terribly blurry and confusing. He was young, only a couple of years older than me. He had been overflowing with life and energy and things to say the last time I had seen him, so why now? What had happened? 

I was in denial about his death for a couple of weeks. I’d find myself calling his phone and sending him texts, hoping that he’d answer. I stalked his Facebook page, and despite the countless number of “We miss you” and “Goodbye” comments, I was sure that he was still somewhere to be found.

The ghosts of our loved ones no longer haunt rickety old staircases and graveyards. They do not come as gusts of wind in the middle of the night. Instead, they come to us in the form of JPEGS and words typed out onto a computer screen long before they died. The blogs and Facebook pages of the deceased are sometimes still available on the Internet long after that person’s life has ended. Those of us left behind can drive ourselves insane pouring over the pictures and words of the people we miss so, so dearly. And sometimes, we can convince ourselves that they are still there, behind their monitor, right on the verge of answering our email or “liking” our status.

I still have my friend’s cell number saved in my phone. Just last week I sent him yet another text, hoping that somehow, his ghost would read it.

Best Frenemies Forever

I have always prefered the company of dudes over women. This aspect of my personality was brought to light this past Friday at the party I threw. At one point, I looked around the room and realized that I was one of about four people out of a group of twenty who had ovaries.

I have always been very fearful of women. There have been several key points throughout my life that have made me not only distrust female relationships, but completely shy away from them as a whole.

When I was in college, I had this very powerful yet tumultuous friendship with a girl named K. Our freshman year, K was raped at a party I brought her to. After that, I felt this misguided maternal instinct to protect her from everything because I partly blamed myself for what happened to her.

K and I did everything together. We drank, we studied, we danced. I told her my entire story, shared the best and the worst of myself with her. Our sophomore year, K tried to kill herself and ended up in the hospital for awhile. I came and visited when I could. I brought her presents and homework assignments, though it destroyed me to see her the way she was.

That spring semester, K ended up sleeping with a boy I was involved with. I had never experienced that kind of betrayal from such a close friend before. Even though I eventually forgave her, that was the beginning of the end for us.

Our junior year, we started hanging out with different people. I had plans of transfering to a different college and was also seriously dating this one guy. I started hearing from different sources that K was dragging my name through the mud and starting rumors about things that I never did. She had also started using all of the deep, personal information I had told her as ammo against me. When I confronted her, she lashed out and deeply, deeply wounded me. I have never heard such nasty things come out of a person’s mouth before that were directed at me, nor do I ever think I will again.

My post-collegiate years have been spent trying to cultivate genuine friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime. Many of these friendships have been created with guys who are like brothers to me.

I think that I have always felt safer around men. Guys are much more direct when they have a problem with each other. They will either yell or punch something or shoot things in a video-game. Regardless of what they do, it is obvious that they are angry. Women are much more calculating. Instead of being confrontational, they will bad mouth you behind your back to other girls.

Society has played a huge role in creating these passive aggressive tendencies in women. We were brought up expecting to be pleasers, all rainbows and sugar and spice and everything nice. We were never fully taught to express negative emotions towards another person. We had to simply suck it up and smile and continue playing house or dress-up.

It’s a shame because I do crave female companionship. It gets a little bit tiring to always be your guy friend’s wingman at the bar, drinking beer and cracking fart jokes. Sometimes all I really want to do is get dolled up, order one of those giant, dayglow colored fruitini drinks, and go dancing to Lady Gaga in heels.

Flakiness and paranoia

3197935807_a846d72f5bI am an all or nothing kinda gal. If you’re my friend, I expect you to return my texts/phone calls in a timely manner. Of course, the real world does not always cater to Stephanie’s world, and, of course, sometimes, some people do not always get around to getting back to you.

I am a slightly paranoid person. If somebody does not get back to me immediately, I automatically assume that they hate me. I then start to comb every possible scenario that we were ever in that would make that person hate me sooo much that they would want to 86 me out of their life completely. Such scenarios rarely occur however, because I am a people pleaser, and thus, I go on to invent made-up scenarios or start critiquing my flaws and why I am a bad person and deserving of such unfair treatment. Eventually, the person does get back to me and I am at peace. This is, up until the next time a person does not return my message immediately. It is a vicious cycle.

Deep down, I know I have friends. But it is that little sliver of doubt in the back of my mind that causes me to act all blotto. My greatest fear is that one day nobody will like me anymore. Not even my mother. And so I have dedicated my life to saying yes to everyone, to agreeing to do everything because God forbid I ever upset someone, God forbid I ever say no.

This constant life as a yes man does get me into trouble. There have been many a weekend where I make plans with about 17 different people and then, at the last minute, I have to cancel on 16 of them. I have built a reputation for being flaky. I don’t have innate flakiness, it’s just that all of the ‘yeses’ I throw out during the week end up becoming all of these sudden cancelations on the weekends, thus making me look like a tool. 

And I don’t know how to grow a spine and just say no. It’s that paralyzing fear of loneliness and people being angry with me that causes me to be a human doormat. It is necessary for the entire world to love me. And it sucks…

Come Support Local Artists at Dickinson Square Park

Dog owners love their city parks. This is especially true for me, given the fact that the little gem that is Dickinson Square Park, located on 4th and Dickinson, is just a block’s walk from my front door. 

Complete with a playground, benches, basketball court, and huge Maple trees, this park has become a main fixture in my Sunday afternoon laziness routine. I’ll usually bring a blanket, the dog, and a good book and just lay in the sun for hours with my Ipod on. Delicious. 

Residents keep the park looking meticulous thanks to biweekly neighborhood park cleanings, gardening, and an endless supply of plastic bags for dog doo-doo that can be found in buckets attached to streetlights in each corner of the park. 

If you live in South Philly and haven’t had the chance to visit Dickinson Square Park, this coming weekend would be the perfect chance! Friends of Dickinson Square present the 3rd annual Square Fair on June 6th from 9am to 3pm. This year’s fair will feature original art work from local artists. There will even be a flea market (SCHWEET!!) for all of you guys who like second-hand treasures. There will also be live musical entertainment from CAPA music students. 

There is limited space available for artists, antique dealers and vendors for this event.  Vendors interested in participating in this year’s Square Fair, please email or call 215-685-1885. The cost is $15.00 per space; vendors must supply their own table. Set up time is 8am. 

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.