A Few of My Favorite Things 2015

Another year, another list of favorites. Here are my favorite things of 2015:

Favorite Movie: Mad Max: Fury Road. Come on, this had to seem obvious, right? Yes, yes, because Tom Hardy is in it. But really what made it my favorite of the year wasn’t just getting that warm fuzzy feeling from Tom on the big screen. It was the strong, ass kicking, feminist character, Imperator Furiosa. The movie is truly about Furiosa, and then about Max who, for all intents and purpose, is her sidekick. I could go deeper into this, about how the film itself is a study in how women are treated now, how would women be treated in the apocalypse, but, to put it simply, Mad Max is my favorite movie of the year because damn do I love to watch a woman take the lead in an action movie and not have to use her sexuality, to truly just kick ass using nothing more than physical and mental strength, wit, and resourcefulness.

Some runners up are Trainwreck, Jurassic World, The Martian, and Fifty Shades of Grey (because sometimes train wrecks are just REALLY hard to look away from). It should also be noted, I slacked in the movie department in 2015. There are many that still need to be seen, and will likely be better than any I’ve listed here.

Favorite Album: You know me, I can never have just one! Last year I was lucky enough to see my top two artists live (and will get to see them again this year) and their performances only solidified my love for both of their new albums. At Bonnaroo during both Florence and Mumford’s sets I was brought to tears because both albums brought out so many emotions in me throughout a turbulent Spring. But, despite having both How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and Wilder Mind on repeat, I once again had 20 albums I just couldn’t get enough of…

spotify:user:thalia58:playlist:6XdCfWwzUPLb9gnlOT1Xlk

Favorite Book: Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling was by far my favorite new release. Partly because I didn’t read a lot of recent releases in 2015 (I found myself reading a lot of murder mystery series… don’t ask me why. I just can’t seem to get enough of serial killers as of late.) and, mostly, because Kaling has this voice I cannot get enough of. She is easy to relate to, open, and whenever I read her I’m always fairly certain we should probably be best friends.

My non-2015 runners up were Yes Please by Amy Poehler (also on my list of imaginary best friends) and the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain (like I said, allll the serial killers, please!).

Favorite TV Show: Laugh if you must, but my favorite TV show last year was the amazing (and awful) The Only Way is Essex. This is a British reality show (slightly akin to Jersey Shore- think lots of plastic surgery, make up, and tanning, but less partying and physical fights) I discovered by chance three years ago. The reason it became my favorite this year is because as I was catching up with the 15th season, yes FIFTEEN SEASONS, Mr. T caught me watching it and instead of being embarrassed by my terrible taste I told him he had to watch it with me from the beginning. It began as a joke, but now it’s something we love to laugh at together, something that, early on in our relationship, truly showed me that he was the type of man who could laugh at the absurd with me. Also? I just truly am an anglophile. Give me more Brits, dammit!

Runner up: Jessica Jones. Yes to all female ass kickers. YES.

Favorite Concert: If I thought the 150 shows in 2014 were hard to choose between, the nearly 250 shows I saw in 2015 are even more impossible. This was the year of amazing music for me. This was a year unlike any other, and a year I will probably never get to repeat again. Tiny ten people shows, arena classic rock tours, Coachella, Bonnaroo, local music fests… all of it made for a year that was, quite literally, music to my ears. But the best shows have to be the nights I got to see women who have influenced my life. From childhood to adulthood there have been a handful of strong, vulnerable, beautiful, romantic women who have shaped me through their music. Heart, Blondie, Florence and the Machine, and Fleetwood Mac have been the soundtrack to my life throughout the years. I have cried and loved and danced my way through happiness and heartbreak to the Wilson sisters, Debbie Harry, Florence Welch, and, more than anyone, Stevie Nicks and each of their shows surpassed everything I hoped they’d be.

Favorite Purchase: Pearl! My 2012 Hyundai Accent. It was a sad day when I finally had to give in and put ol’ Ruby, the first car I had every truly owned, out to pasture. But driving home in a new (to me) car that I knew wouldn’t break down every month (literally. Every. Single. Month. I’m looking at you, Ruby…) gave me such a feeling of comfort and relief. In the 367 days that I’ve owned Pearl I’ve put 10,800 miles on her. Two trips to Denver, one to Mobile, Alabama, and soon, a quick trip to Omaha. Yep, it’s great to find a gal that loves to travel as much as I do.

Favorite Meal: Having a meal made for you is always a treat. Having the best steak you’ve ever eaten (literally. This is not a joke, people. Buttery, medium rare, mouthwatering steak.) made for you is even better. In our relationship, I am more often than not the one cooking for Mr. T, and I very much enjoy it. But one night, for no special reason, he grilled up a steak on his salt block (look it up. Buy it. You’ll thank me.), sauteed me some veggies, and baked me a potato. It was not only a sweet gesture, it was absolutely delicious.

Great. And now I want steak…

Favorite Date: This is by far the hardest for me to determine. For possibly the first time in my life I had SO MANY good dates, I’m having a hard time just choosing one. Mr. T has surprised me with concert tickets (to shows he definitely would not have wanted to go to, but I definitely did), taken me to the drive in, out for my favorite comfort foods when I’m needing it, out to breweries, on road trips, taken me home to meet his friends and family, and even out for sunset walks on the beach in the Gulf Shores, so trust me, it’s really hard to choose just one date. But, if forced, I guess there is one day that always sticks out in my mind.

Our first mini-road trip together was to Omaha, where we will soon celebrating our six month anniversary (yes, because I’m cheesy). The week prior to the trip over Labor Day we both had been battling summer cold/tummy sickness and overall, just not feeling the best. This was still lingering on our second day there and I was worried this would put a damper on our brunch and brewery tour plans. By the time we were halfway through brunch though, I knew we had nothing to worry about. Our food was amazing and we both ended up feeling better than we had in days. We found some of our new favorite beers, we talked and laughed all day, and even when the rain started to roll in and we both had a few too many to really want to hit anymore breweries, the date continued back in the hotel room with pizza and HGTV. (Seriously, if you haven’t made fun of the people on House Hunters, you really haven’t lived. Go, do it now.) In a way, the actual date was nothing special, just a day exploring the city. But in another way, it was and always will be one of the most special to me. At this point I was already crazy about Mr. T, happy and in love, but being in a different city where it really is just the two of us I fully felt the certainty that if it was always just the two of us, no matter where we were or what we were doing, we would always find a way to have fun.

Favorite Guy: I think this one may possibly, just maaaay be a given…

Almost six months ago (5 months, 26 days, and about 8 and a half hours ago if you want to get specific) Mr. T met me at the shitty dive bar I mentioned I’d be at and my life has been infinitely happier ever since. He is this caring, giving, cute, loving, goofy, sincere, loyal, committed, sexy, appreciative, happy, serious, music loving, crazy about me guy I have spent years dreaming of. At times I still find myself questioning us, like after all the years of struggling with bad relationships things can’t go this smoothly and feel this right, can they? But every time that inkling of doubt even creeps it’s way in my mind something comes along to remind me yes, sometimes things can be this easy. That’s not to say it’s always easy and it’s perfect, but that does mean that there is finally a person there fighting for me as much as I am fighting for them when things aren’t easy. There is finally someone who makes believe that maybe all these years I haven’t just been a hopeless romantic believing that someone was out there who would compliment and also challenge me in ways I’ve always wanted and ways I didn’t even know I needed until I felt. It wasn’t me just being a hopeless romantic, it was just me waiting patiently, and more often that not, impatiently, on the two of us being at the right place and the right times in our lives to finally have this love. There is finally someone who makes me fully believe in the phrase ‘when you know, you know.’ And I very much know. He is my favorite guy of 2015, and will be for many more years to come.

 

How Coachella Changed My Life

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. But, looking back on what I now fondly refer to as ‘the best weekend ever’, I find myself much improved after my tryst in the desert. Sure, many people give Coachella shit and think it’s filled with trust fund kids and sweaty, smelly hippies and overpriced beer. And sure, there are plenty of trust fund kids and smelly hippies and grossly overpriced Heinekens, but so what? Yeah, that’s right, I said it. SO WHAT? And this my dear readers, is how Coachella changed my life. A weekend at Coachella helped me say so the fuck what to so many things.

For as much as I’ve learned and grown over the years, I’m still guilty of over analyzing way too much and, at times, it has really kept me from fully enjoying life. Need some proof that Coachella did anything to change that? Fine, here’s your proof, you non-believers!

When I first won tickets to the festival I VERY quickly went from extreme excitement into panic mode. What will I wear?! Coachella is full of celebrities and trust fund babies with adorably chic desert attire. I don’t have adorably chic desert attire! And furthermore, even if I find this adorably chic desert attire, my body is far from looking desert attire ready! THIS IS TERRIBLE. Yeah, y’all. I was up in my head FOREVER. I shopped and shopped and dieted (kinda) and worked out tons (some) and shopped more and I still hated everything I had packed for the weekend. I felt like I would look like a frumpy bag lady in a sea of waify, designer clothes clad chicks. But then… I actually got to Coachella. And a ton of people DID look adorably chic and I kinda didn’t, but it really didn’t matter because I was too damn busy dancing and running from stage to stage to have all these amazing bands melt my face off with awesomeness to even really be concerned with what I was wearing or what I looked like because at the end of the day if I’m not rockin’ the crocheted top and flower headband and shorty shorts (which my friend actually was rockin’ and was adorable in) SO WHAT? Did my fashion or lack thereof make the music any less great? Nope. Did it make me enjoy my weekend any less? NOPE.

And speaking of all the face melting music… Sometimes when I go to shows, which I do often, if I haven’t had proper boozy lubricant, I find that I don’t enjoy myself quite as much as if I had. Probably because when I’m totally sober I feel a little silly dancing and singing at the top of my lungs around so many people. I don’t know why, because those are pretty much two of my favorite things to do ever- oh wait, of course I know why! Because, like a good chunk of the population, I am self-conscious. Always have been and always will be. Or so I thought. I hated the idea of enjoying myself so much that, god forbid, I might make a spectacle of myself. Well, for 98% of the weekend I was pretty damn sober (y’all, not that I didn’t try, but it’s real hard to get drunk when you aren’t particularly fond of Heineken and you’re also pounding a shitload of water as to not die from desert heat) and towards the beginning I was my usual sober self at concerts. Dancing a little, maybe singing along, but nothing too crazy. No spectacles being made. But then on the second night Snoop Dogg popped out on stage with Pharrell and I LOST MY SHIT. From then on it was like, whoa good luck reigning in my inner party monster! I nearly broke my old lady body I danced so damn hard. Oh, and when Calvin Harris ended his set with Sweet Nothing? Yeah, I don’t think I’ve screamed so loudly from happiness. Ever. Did I make a bit of a spectacle of myself in the process? Probably. But, SO WHAT?! I was happy.

I was happy nearly the whole damn weekend. It was impossible not to be. Despite the heat and the sandstorm and major lack of sleep and aching legs and feet, I was pretty dang happy. I was even happy to run into an ex-boyfriend. And his new girlfriend. Yeah, leave it to me to go to a music fest over a thousand miles away and one of my ex-boyfriends is there. But, it was fine! We had fun and it was one of those hey it’s so crazy, I can’t believe we are here at the same time situations and it really didn’t bother me at all. Until it did. Something about seeing him treat her in a way I almost never got treated in the five years we dated and being all nice and boyfriend-y to her just hit me on the last night. And, okay, so maybe it could have been that it was also the 2% of the weekend that I was kind of drunk, but as I said adios to them for the last time and he wrapped his arm around her as they walked off I got sad. Not like falling to the ground in the fetal position sad, but sad enough that a few fat little tears rolled down my face while Arcade Fire was playing in the background. I had spent PLENTY of time crying about spending so much of my life with that particular ex and never being treated the way I should have been (or really, allowing myself to spend so much time with someone who did not treat me as I deserved. Shame on me.) that I REALLY didn’t want to go back down that road. I’ve been over it for a good long time and I did not want to go back there. But then, like magic, Debbie Harry appeared on stage. DEBBIE. HARRY. Suddenly I was crying for a whole different reason, because, guys… DEBBIE HARRY. It was like she was my magical, blonde, never aging angel showing me all that is right in the world. (Yeah, I love her that much.) So what that a person who wasn’t particularly great to me is now good to someone else? So what that I spent too much of my time in the past worrying about that? SO WHAT? So what that I don’t look like a waify desert chic chick? So what that I sometimes make spectacles of myself? So what that I have given my heart away a little too much in the past? So what that at this moment my life is not perfect? SO WHAT?

And that is exactly how Coachella changed my life. You go through all these self-doubts and insecurities and hard times in your life, because yeah, often life just sucks. But peppered throughout those shitty times are the these perfect weekends. These perfect days, perfect minutes, perfect experiences that put all that shit into perspective and just allow you to say even if it isn’t always good, sometimes life really is great.

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Date Rape Does Exist

Fair warning to (what I’m guessing is the majority of my readers) my family. This post contains references to me having sex. If you would prefer not to have that visual in your head, I suggest you stop reading now. But, the sex is not gratuitous or discussed for scandalous reasons, rather to give voice to an issue that is important to me, and should, in my opinion, be important to everyone.

Recently there is a woman making some headlines. ‘Princeton mom’ has become a figure of contention for many feminist minded women, like myself. I wanted to ignore her and not add fuel to her already controversial fire, but it comes to a point where I can no longer ignore her stupidity and ignorance because I fear for any young women out there reading what she has to say and letting it become a form of truth. I fear for any person who experiences what I experienced 13 years ago and letting her idiotic thoughts make them feel that what they are going through is not valid.

Princeton mom does not believe in date rape. Rather, she believes women use this term to refer to sex they “mistakenly have” and that only she is to blame in that situation.

Princeton mom is an uniformed, archaic sack of shit.

Date rape does exist.

I am a victim of date rape.

I am 17. I’m watching a movie with a guy I’ve hung out with in a group a couple of times. He is much older than me and instead of obeying my mom’s ‘I need to meet him first’ rules, I tell her I’m hanging out with a friend and head to his house instead. I was excited to hang out with him, but when he suggests we watch a movie in his room instead of the living room, I begin to feel slightly uneasy. He puts in Three To Tango, a romantic comedy with Neve Campbell. She has always reminded me of my older sister, so this movie choice calms my nerves some, like she is there keeping an eye out for me. It’s about an hour into the movie that I realize there is no one there keeping an eye out for me. I am completely on my own.

It starts out nice enough. We are sitting on his bed, legs next to each other just barely touching, and actually enjoying the movie. But then we are kissing. And then he pulls me down so we are lying together while kissing. And then his hand is up my shirt. And then taking my shirt off. And then unbuttoning my pants. I pull his hands away before he can finish unbuttoning them, hoping he will understand this is as far as I want to go for now. Gradually his hands go back to my pants, and again I pull them away. Instead of understanding what I’m not wanting, he begins to take off his own pants. In my mind I know I want to leave. I know I need to leave. I try scooting away from him, hoping some distance will slow things down, but now he has his pants off and is pulling me back to him. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asks in a way that is meant to be cute and flirtatious, but is not. Now I don’t know what to do, but I know I need to leave. I know I want to leave. I try to say it’s late and I have curfew, I say I need to go to the bathroom, I say I have to call my mom and check in, but he thinks I’m just playing hard to get and tells me how cute I am. I know I need to leave. But, I can’t.

He does not physically hurt me. He doesn’t hit me or threaten me. He just keeps me pinned underneath him with his arms and his body weight so I can’t stop what is happening. He kisses me tenderly, like we are lovers and this means something. A few times I even catch myself thinking this isn’t wrong as he strokes my cheek, but then I remember, this is wrong because this is not what I want. He can make it as romantic as he wants, but I tried to leave and he would not let me.

When it’s over I hurry into my clothes at a speed usually only reserved for when I am running late to school. I need to leave. But, as I grab for the doorknob that leads to my escape, he grabs for my wrist roughly. “This was fun, wasn’t it?” he asks. I don’t know what he wants me to say. Is he testing me? Or does he actually think this was fun for me? He hadn’t physically hurt me before, but what if I said ‘fuck you, no this wasn’t fun’ would he hurt me now? I decide silence is the best route and smile and nod until finally he lets me walk through the door and through the rest of the house until I can breathe again in the damp, cold night air.

This is my story. Sadly, I know many who have stories like mine. Stories where the lines of what is right and what is wrong can feel blurred. Where you’re scared people will think you’re overreacting to a hook up that goes just a little to far.

Princeton mom goes on to stick her foot further down her throat by saying we shouldn’t be wasting time educating men (and women) on what does and does not consist of consensual sex, instead we should be teaching women not to go out and get drunk and put themselves in questionable situations. This? This is victim blaming at it’s worst and IT MUST STOP.

I was not drunk. I did not have one sip of alcohol. Was I putting myself in a questionable situation by going to the home of a guy I didn’t know very well? Maybe. Does that excuse the fact that he ignored I clearly was not engaging in consensual sex with him? NO. Because I did go over there did I deserve to have my right to make a choice about what I did of did not want to have happen that night taken away? NO. Because I did kiss him was I asking for it? NO. I’ve posted this before, but I’ll link to it again because I think it sums up what I’m getting at here in a way I cannot. No one is ever asking for it.

At the time, I found it hard to even think about talking about this because I imagined any number of victim blaming responses. For days, months, ever years I didn’t know what to make of what happened that night. I thought that what happened couldn’t have been rape because I was willingly spending time with him, I even willingly kissed him. It couldn’t have been rape because it’s not like some stranger attacked me in the middle of the night and I screamed no. I knew that what happened, what he did to me that night was not right. I just didn’t know why. I never once said no. I pushed him away and I tried leaving, but I never said no.

But, I never said yes.

At the time “date rape” wasn’t a familiar term to me, but when I finally learned about it I understood that my attempts to leave, my attempts to push him off of me, the way he held me down- it was rape. Non-consensual sex will ALWAYS be rape. Even if you are with someone you know and you’ve gone on dates with, even if you fool around with someone, even if you begin to have sex with someone but are made to feel uncomfortable or do something you don’t want to do- once your consent is taken away it. is. rape. I’m not sure what it is about date rape that Princeton mom cannot wrap her (what I’m guessing is a rather small) brain around, but it does exist. It is happening. It needs to not be happening and one of the ways to accomplish this is to give victims a voice. One sure fire way to ensure victims will not want their stories heard through is to belittle the experience by claiming it does not exist.

I hope for any person who finds themselves in a sexual assault situation that the words of this ill-informed woman, or the mass of people out there who agree with her thinking, never make you question your feelings of whether you really are a victim or not. If it was not consensual, no matter how you got into the situation, you are a victim and all your feelings of hurt and betrayal and fear and anger are valid. Never, NEVER let anyone make you feel otherwise.

And Finally, It Clicks

I recently read a book entitled It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. Okay, whatever, I read most of it. Ugh, OKAY, so I actually only got through three chapters before my kindle loan on it ended. I got sidetracked by a true crime…and by a smutty book (don’t judge!). But really, three chapters was all I needed of It’s Not You. I was excited to read this book. Normally I don’t really go for “self-help” style books, but after hearing nearly every reason in the world on why I might be single (see: Dumb reasons people say you might be single) I decided I needed to be reassured that all those reasons were probably bullshit. Well, the author of this book did just that. She tells you that being too independent, being too needy, wanting it too much, not wanting it enough, etc., ALL OF THAT is all bullshit. HOORAY! Finally someone speaking some sort of sense! Three pages into this and I was like, ‘move over, To Kill A Mockingbird, this is my new favorite book!’ In fact, there are plenty of people who have baggage and are needy, and all the other things people tell you are reasons you aren’t meeting someone, who are in relationships. There are no set right or wrong’s when it comes to who you should be when you want a relationship. HOORAY, I shout to myself again. The book just keeps getting better and better, and I’m still only in the first chapter! But then, she drops in the one reason people are single… you just haven’t met the person you are supposed to meet yet.

WHAT?

NO. SERIOUSLY. WHAT?

That’s all there is? As soon as I read this, I’m irate. The author goes on to say you can look and look for that person. You can go to parties, you can join clubs, you can online date, you can put yourself out there all you want. And you can work on loving yourself, you can work on becoming more independent, you can work on sorting out all your “issues”, you can do all of the things people tell you you should do to be relationship-ready, but you really can’t force the matter because, eventually, you will just meet that person when you meet that person. Well, thank you, oh wise Buddha author lady for all your zen-like advice! I throw the book down and start furiously texting my other single friends and dropping this “revelation” on them. ‘So glad I didn’t actually purchase this book’ I start typing out, ‘Just haven’t met the person you’re supposed to meet yet? Well, THANKS for enlightening me! I mean, I’ve NEVER heard that before. Oh wait, I HAVE!’ Ugh. Like I said, I was irate. A lot of all-caps shouty texts were sent. Why was I so irate, you may ask? Well, because! Because if I just haven’t met the person I’m supposed to meet yet and it will only happen when it’s supposed to happen how can I make it happen already?!

And then, of course, it clicks. I can’t make it happen. Oh. So that’s what she was getting at.

It didn’t really click with me until a few weeks later. I spent a few days in a real huff. Then I spent a few more days focusing on my true crime and my smut to take my mind off the huff I was in. And then, I just kind of got it. Her book isn’t telling you that all the advice people give you, like love yourself first, and become more independent, and work out all your past dating issues, isn’t actually valid advice. It is valid. But, it’s not valid in the sense people typically give it out. Those things won’t make you become more dateable. They won’t magically make you find Mr. Right. If you want to love yourself more, if you want to be more independent, if you want to work out your issues, then do it! But, do it for you. If the real reason that your single is you haven’t met the person you are supposed to meet yet, then don’t put your life on hold waiting for this person.

Of course, it’s highly possible that, as with most self-help style books, I may have gotten all of this from her book (or three chapters I read) because this is what I needed to hear. Maybe, after endless frustrations with dating this last year, this was already in the back of my head, but I just needed to see it written out for me to accept this “it will happen when it’s meant to happen” type of thinking. As a person who is very impatient and who thinks they can make almost anything happen if they just try hard enough and, okay, is somewhat controlling, it is very hard to accept that there are things in this world that I want, that I really want, that aren’t in my control. On the other hand, it is kind of nice accepting this way of thinking. If all the reasons we are typically told we still haven’t found the one yet are wrong then finally I can cut myself a little slack for being a little too scared of being hurt and a little too slow to open up and a little too stubborn.

Realizing all of this has been a pretty huge weight off of my shoulders, but it’s not a cure all. It doesn’t make me anymore patient and stop wishing I’d just meet the person who is going to laugh at and love me for all my terrible puns and awesome pop culture knowledge already, but it does make me stop beating myself up for not having that person in my life yet. There’s no reason for me to change anything about myself (except for the things I want to change for ME!) because eventually, when that person comes along, he’s going to know that I’m a little too scared of being hurt and a little too slow to open up and a little too stubborn, and he’s going to love the shit out of those things.

An Open Letter To Everyone. Re: My Biological Clock

Dear Everyone ever to make jokes about women of a certain age and their biological clocks,

Last night I had a dream. I was back in Denver on a shuttle coming back from DIA with my ex. And our daughter. We weren’t back together, nothing about our relationship had changed…except we had this beautiful daughter. We were coming back from a trip to KC to have all my family celebrate her first birthday. Not much happened in the dream aside from the three of us riding in the shuttle but everything about it was incredibly vivid, especially the feeling that this little girl was my whole world. I woke up at 4a.m. and the dream was so realistic it took me a minute to remember that I wasn’t still living in Denver. And I don’t have a child. And lately I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking that’s something I’d really like to have.

As you can imagine, this was a hard way to start the day. I felt out of sorts through most of the morning and when I finally told my (mother of one and soon-to-be two) coworker who is the same age as me why I was so off today she laughed and said, “Oh your clock’s just tickin’ away, isn’t it?! Poor girl!” One of my male coworkers must have overheard us talking because he threw in his two scents as well, “You know, this is why a lot of guys date younger women. You gals in your 30’s are totally on the baby track. Like, what’s the rush?”

Okay, y’all. Two fuck you’s needing to be given there.

I know some people will read the previous paragraph and not find anything wrong with what my coworkers had to say and call me overly sensitive and ask if I’m PMS-ing. To that I say, ‘So what. I’m allowed to be sensitive.’ and, ‘No. I am perfectly level headed (and level horomoned).’ Here’s what upsets me about people being all non-nonchalant with their ‘ticking clock’ metaphors and their ‘what’s the rush’ pondering- for some of us, e.g. women, there is a ticking clock. Not all of us humans are afforded the benefit of being filled with sperm that can fertilize an egg until nearly the day you die (or even after death if you buy into Stephanie Meyer’s preposterous take on sparkling vampires). For women, our time to naturally conceive a child is finite. (And yes, I’ll probably be emphasizing naturally a lot because as well as realizing I would, in fact, like to have a child, I’d also like to have one naturally. No judgement to those that do, but I don’t want to be a woman in her 60’s going through IVF. No thanks!) Yes, there are some women out there popping out kids into their late 40’s/early 50’s (one woman even conceiving naturally at 59- with the help of estrogen. Oh, and let’s not forget about the woman who gave birth at 70 after IVF. Like I said earlier, nothing about this topic sounds great to me.) but, for most women, fertility begins to decline more rapidly after the age of 35 (or so Psychology of Human Sexuality 201 and about four hours of internet research and my OBGYN tell me). So excuse me, coworkers and other glib asshats of the world, but how can a single woman in her 30’s who might be interested in naturally conceiving a child NOT be on a one track mind at times?

Now look, I know there are plenty of guys out there in my position; single and getting to the age where they feel like they may need to start considering their options on having kids. And, I know there are a lot of married people in relationships who have to consider alternative methods for having a family. And people in same sex relationships who have just as much, if not more, as I do to think about when it comes to this subject. But, here’s the thing- I’m not speaking for them. This is my open letter, so I will gripe from my point of view only. The point of view of a single women in her 30’s who pretty much always imagined kids would eventually be a part of her life, but weren’t really something she needed to put a lot of thought into because haha, oh man, I’m totally still in my 20’s and I will meet someone I want to start a family with eventually and it’ll be no big deal!

But, suddenly I’m not in my 20’s anymore. I’m  getting closer and closer to the rapidly declining fertility age and have little to no patience for people who make jokes out of my biological clock. Those jokes aren’t quite as funny to a person who has to sit down and have serious discussions with herself that includes topics like, ‘What if I don’t meet the person I want to start a family with until I’m in my 50s? Or later? Or never?’ and ‘If I don’t meet anyone by a certain age, should I try to have a child on my own?’ And other fun gems like, ‘What if my doctor is right and I have a difficult time conceiving naturally? Is that a disappointment I want to put myself through? Would I want to try hormones or IVF?‘ (Yes, as if I didn’t already have enough fun things to consider when broaching the topic of possibly having children.) This isn’t like debating whether or not to buy the super cute but maybe overpriced weekender bag I’ve been coveting online or whether I should just go ahead and let myself eat one more cookie. These things aren’t decisions that can be laughed off later like oh silly me buying bags online again! No. These are serious, potentially life altering decisions I have to sit down and start making in the next few years. And maybe a few years doesn’t seem so long in the grand scheme of things, but for someone who just felt like they were in their 20’s and now, oh shit, it’s like eight years later already, a few years to figure all of these things out in is not a lot of time at all. It is like a clock ticking away, it’s quiet, but it’s there lingering in the background. It’s there and it’s a little stressful and scary and overwhelming. So do a girl a favor and don’t belittle that clock with your flippant remarks.

Challenges

2014 was going to be a resolution-free year. I decided after making a boatload of changes in 2013, I deserved a free pass this year. But then, one of my lovely lady friends suggested our resolution for the year should be to do a new fitness challenge every month. My lovely lady friend must really know how to get me on board with things because if you say ‘challenge’ I say ‘fuck yes, I can do it!’

January’s challenge was squats. And I KILLED IT. Today I completed day 30 of the challenge (250 squats, nbd.) and I feel awesome. I’m pretty damn proud of myself for not missing one day, not even one little squat. And the awesome feeling is great since, unfortunately for me, aside from killing this challenge, the rest of January hasn’t gone so swimmingly. It was just one of those months where I found myself thinking ‘when it rains, it really fucking pours’ at least once a week. But, fear not dear readers. I am nothing if not resilient. I am not the least bit uncertain that, eventually, I will see my way through the downpour. The only crap thing about having a month like this is when I’m going through the bad times, I tend to beat myself up a little more than usual. It’s not a conscious thing, sometimes it is just fleeting ew, what’s going on with my hair today, but every little jab at myself counts. I am fully aware that these thoughts do nothing to help me through the bad and get me to the good, but in the past have done nothing to change my way of thinking. So, now I’m deciding to throw another challenge into the mix…

Since February is the month of love (I’m assuming someone out there calls it that, anyway) I’m giving myself a non-physical challenge in hopes of inspiring some self-love. It’s a two part challenge, really. First, I’m challenging myself to squash these negative thoughts as soon as I acknowledge them. And second, and most importantly, for every negative thought that creeps into my brain, I have to say three things I love about myself. Okay, maybe a three part challenge, because I also have to not roll my eyes and call myself ridiculous as I list off all these great things about myself. I have to acknowledge and accept them as fully as I’ve accepted all those negative feelings of the past. And, since I am such a go-getter, I got a bit of a head start on this.

This morning, while doing the wiggle and jump and pull the tight pants up dance, I caught myself in mid-ugh I’m such a fatty fa… thought. I didn’t let myself finish. Instead, I finished getting dressed, looked in the mirror, and forced myself to accept that 1. I love my eyes, 2. I love that I’ve worked really hard to get good at my job, and 3. I love that I finished the squats challenge because my booty is actually looking pretty damn good in these tight pants. Between a new physical challenge (arms and abs!) and the thinkin’ good thoughts challenge, I think February is shaping up to be a pretty great month.

My A, B, C’s

If you’ve never checked out The Frenemy on Tumblr, you should. She’s all over the place and smart and hilarious. One of her posts included these questions and so, why not? Read on, readers. Read on.

A. If you could legally punch somebody in the throat ONCE, would you do it because you were watching a TV show and this person did that light but constant coughy thing the entire time? Walking slow in front of you? Or for some other reason? Walking slowly in front of me. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Seriously, as a person with short legs, if I am walking faster than you then you are just walking TOO DAMN SLOW. Throat punches may ensue if you insist on doing this and taking up the whole sidewalk while doing so.

B. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet and if your blood got you drunk would you sometimes drink it? My favorite piece of clothing is my long sleeve, tan cardigan. Simple, but I bought it in Brighton and it goes with everything and it can maybe be 142 degrees out and I still like wearing cardigans with EVERYTHING. And no. I have a small list of things I won’t drink to get drunk: whiskey, and now blood.

C. Would you rather go to a party where you know nobody and make small talk for two hours or watch that piece of shit movie Savages with Blake Lively two times in a row? This is not a fair question. I am not a fan of parties and I am a fan of The Savages (just kidding, only of Tim Riggins being in it and wearing the same hoodie I have from Thalia Surf Shop. What? It’s totally not weird that I noticed that.)

D. This guy wants to pay you ten thousand dollars to show a three minute clip of you having sex at his next dinner party. Ten people will be there. One of those people will be somebody you know, but you don’t know WHO. You do that, or what? What kind of sex would you be having? Ten thousand? That’s it? If it were a million, I would consider. And also, I feel like I would have to pay each person at the party ten thousand to sit through that at a dinner party because it would likely ruin their appetites…

E. You can bring five foods/drinks to a desert island. What are they? Rice and soy sauce because a desert island leads me to believe I’ll be eating a lot of fish and you know I wanna turn that shit into sushi. Gin because desert island also leads me to believe I’ll be hot a lot and I constantly crave gin when I’m hot. Now, do I have a means of refrigeration? Because all that gin is going to make me need chocolate milk the next morning. And if I do have refrigeration, I’m assuming there is a freezer too, so my last item is Talenti argentine caramel gelato.

F. Rihanna will read a tweet you direct at her. What does it say? Please STOP.

G. Tell me your best possible Sunday, if you could have it go as you choose. My favorite way to spend Sunday is in the fall when there’s a chill in the air, but it’s still beautiful and sunny out. Oh, and in this scenario I’m clearly dating someone who is awesome and makes boss breakfast sammies. It goes a little something like this- wake up late, but not too late. Have a delicious breakfast sammie and make bloody marys (because if there’s one thing I do well, it’s make bloody marys), watch football all cuddled up on the couch. It’s not a close game, our team is killing it, so it’s no big deal when we end up napping before the game is over. Ugh, midday naps on a chilly day are the best, amiright? Post-football there is some book reading, mine something Gillian Flynn-esque, his is something non-fiction- about a war or 1920’s gangsters, perhaps. The day ends with walking to Port Fonda and probably re-watching some Game of Thrones. (What can I say? I really love Sundays.)

H. If you had a robot that could do only one thing, would you make it imitate Robert DeNiro and call him Robot DeNiro or what? You got a fucking better idea? What is it? Nope, best idea EVER. Robert DeNiro is my then, now, forever crush, so obviously I would want a robot him!

I. Would you say you hatefollow more people on Tumblr or Facebook? Give a brief summary of the person you hatefollow the most on Facebook. I don’t hatefollow anyone, anywhere. Okay, so maybe there is one person I follow on Twitter that I don’t like or dislike, but every single thing they tweet makes me have a giant, Liz Lemon eye roll and grumble, “Ughhhhhhhh.”

J. If you were remaking a liveaction Disney movie, who would you cast in it and you can’t cast Darren Criss. Kim Kardashian as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, but her big tiger, Rajah, eats her.

K. Tell me three texts you would send if the people receiving them wouldn’t remember them the next day. Not the person they are for, just the texts themselves here. “You are easily the most holier than thou person I know. Super un-fun, ya jerkwad!” “Do you have regrets?” “Showers make people better coworkers.”

L. Create an American Girl Doll. Mine would definitely be an Anne Boleyn one and her head pops off. Mine would be Tina Fey and you could push a button to make her shake her fist toward the sky and say “Nerd rage!”

M. What do you think would be the most perfect gift somebody could give you? Sometimes I think of these great gifts for myself and wish people would give them to me. Probably a trip to San Fran, Chicago, or Boston to see the Rockies play. All cities and stadiums I want to go to soon.

N. What would be the song you want to hear before you die? Footloose. I can’t not dance to that and that would mean I’d die dancing which would be a pretty great way to go.

O. What would be your Jeopardy tidbit you told Alex Trebek when he does that little “tell me about yourself” thing after the commercial break? “I love apple butter, can’t make balloon animals, and once won a bubble gum blowing contest.”

P. Congratulations, you’re a Real Housewife. What would your intro quote be in the credits? (I.E. I may be short but I’m not short on cash or prescription pill addictions) “I always bring the sauce and the sass.” (I’m just assuming I would be on the Housewives of New Jersey.)

Q. What is the thing you always hope these Questionares will ask you because you want to answer it? Go ahead and just answer anything because I know you want me to ask you a specific question, probably about a crush. If I could move to England, all expenses paid, with a job you’ll enjoy waiting for you, but never be able to return to the U.S., would you do it? And the answer? Totally YES.

R. What’s the meanest thing you’ve ever said to somebody? “I don’t love you.”

S. The song you dance to the most in your bedroom is….. Tie between Footloose and Modern Love by Bloc Party.

T. Who do you think, at this point in your life, is most likely to murder you? The woman who lives on the second floor of our house because I’m constantly taking her clothes out of the washer or dryer (it’s called communal laundry room etiquette, people!).

U. You have a choice: watch ONLY romantic comedies for a whole year or no movies for a whole year. What do you choose? Do I have to watch one every day? Can I just watch one a week? Can I eliminate all Katherine Heigl movies? If the last one is a no, then I’ll take no movies at all.

V. Cancel one television show RIGHT NOW. All Real Housewives shows. Please.

W. What, if any, is the Cosmopolitan sex tip you actually use? Have fun.

X. You’re a Food Network executive. What would be the show you pitch to the network? Mine is called Trough of Love, a show where reality stars eat nacho cheese with their hands tied behind their backs, hosted by Guy Fieri and Nick Lachey. Mine is called You Can Fry That? and clearly I am the host as it’s just a show where we are finding the most bizarre, but delicious, fried foods. Helloooooo ratings (and heart attacks).

Y. Cast and name a television show about yourself, on NBC. Beers and Beards (ugh, I don’t know, I’m always terrible at naming things. See: my blog posts.).  Emily Blunt plays me (hey, it’s MY SHOW!), Adrianne Palicki and Casey Wilson play my two besties and Connie Britton plays ANYTHING as long as she’s in every episode. And jeez, if I HAD to have a love interest okay well I guess I could have Charlie Hunnam or Taylor Kitsch in that role. If I must.

Z. What revenge would you take on the last person who broke your heart? None, he may have left me heartbroken for eons, but I still wish good things for him. Boring answer, but true.