How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps.

Step 316: Don’t feel embarrassed on behalf of other people

Via Boyfriend Dave:

"You know, you don’t have to feel embarrassed for people when they’re doing something on purpose," he said. "They’re doing it because they want to. They’re doing it because it makes them happy. Don’t worry about her — she’s just doing her. She’s not embarrassed. So why are you?"

Someone wearing a weird outfit? Someone dancing who’s not great at it? Someone getting up for karaoke without the voice for it? Don’t cringe on their behalf; that is almost always an expression of your discomfort in your own skin. It takes a lot of courage to be yourself, to do something because you love it. Don’t worry about those people; they are fucking fine. They’re great, in fact.

25th Nov 2013 1,620 notes , Comments

The holidays … they are coming. Face them with the zeal of a challenger.

Full disclosure: I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love Christmastime with a passion normally only achieved by deeply religious 46-year-old moms. 

But. But. Every year, I have at least one major holiday-related breakdown. This is inevitable, but today I did something that will make it better.

Behold, the Christmas poster!

This includes:

  • Travel plans, including flights, hotel reservations and how I’m getting to/from the airport;
  • All holiday events I want to go to;
  • All the non-holiday stuff that still must be attended to (job deadlines! Bills that are due! Friends’ birthdays!);
  • Dates out-of-town friends are in town, so I don’t miss them and;
  • A couple days set aside to get all my holiday shopping done and wrapped.

Beginning to end, it took me maybe 40 minutes. 

25th Nov 2013 354 notes , Comments

There is a horrible but small chore in your life that you have been putting off.

Today, you are going to do it. You are going to spend that five minutes cleaning that hideous toilet or finally calling your insurance company or whatever it is. Here’s how.

Step 1: Steel yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Step 2: Gather the items required to get this thing done.
Step 3: Put on “Fancy” by Reba McEntire (or the original by Bobbie Gentry; your choice), the single most inspiring and motivating piece of art ever created by humans. Let its fineness and flawlessness and power flow through each cell in your body. Realize you are so much bigger — and stronger — than your humble roots and nigh-impossible odds whatever stupid tiny chore this is. When she ramps up to the climax, belt, “I may have been born just plain white trash — BUT FANCY WAS MY NAAAAAAAAME!" at the top of your lungs.

Step 4: You now have the strength to do anything. Re-play Fancy if need be and get that shit done.

Here’s your one chance, Fancies, don’t let me down!

24th Nov 2013 1,873 notes , Comments

If you have to do an interview via Skype …

Tape googly eyes next to your webcam to help maintain eye contact.

NOTE: This is not an original tip. I saw it somewhere awhile ago, and can’t remember or figure out where. But still great advice!

29th Oct 2013 80,962 notes , Comments

Step 315: You will not be truly good at something worth doing until you have done it again and again and again and again, for years. Do not get discouraged. Let your discontent fuel you.

Ira Glass has already said this far more eloquently, but it’s true.

I just finished “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. I felt, as I always do when reading something stupendous and heartbreaking, both exhilarated and insanely jealous. I would finish a sentence, stop and let it wash over me, and then feel small and inadequate and embarrassed about everything I’ve ever written.

I remember the first time I read something by her, an essay a mutual friend had posted it on Facebook, feeling empty but also changed. “You will never write like she does,” said an 8th grade mean-girl voice in my head. “Why bother, when there are people like her who can write things like this?”

But writing, or making art, or music, or any pursuit that begins inside you and then is proudly or quietly offered to the world, is more craft than divine inspiration. It is slogging through vast periods of mediocrity and frustration and slowly improving. It’s doing it whether you feel like it or not.

It is also — and this is the hard part, at least for me — not putting yourself up against anyone else. Instead of feeling sad that you can’t make the things someone else can make, spend that emotional energy writing more.


28th Oct 2013 1,227 notes , Comments

Q: Ok, so I’m really bad at being PC. Why is it bad if you dress up in other races’ traditional clothes? … what’s wrong with wearing a poncho and a sombrero on a day where you can be whoever you want?

Here’s why I find it distasteful. When you dress in a poncho and sombrero, you’re not dressing as an actual thing. You’re dressing as an icky stereotype some white people have about non-white people, and pulling (inadvertently, perhaps!) a whole lot of ugly backstory in your wake.

Part of being a grown-up is being polite and sensitive to those around you, and cognizant of the fact that just because something doesn’t hurt you or your friends’ sensibilities means it’s not really offensive to some people.

Don’t get me wrong: there is no law against dressing as people of other races. You can do it, if you want! The PC police will not bust down your door and arrest you. But some people will think you’re an asshole.

If it helps, don’t have to think of it in terms of political correctness. Think about it in terms of politeness, and decency. People who are kind and decent avoid actions that hurt others unless there’s really good cause. And what’s the cause here? Just go as a jellyfish. 

17th Oct 2013 541 notes , Comments

Real quick reminder.

GUYS. You all know this already, but just a quick reminder not to dress as other races this Halloween, OK? 

17th Oct 2013 932 notes , Comments

Step 314: When you make a big life change, the first few months will probably suck. Push through it.

A good friend of mine is in the midst of pulling the trigger on something she’s wanted to do for a long time — departing Portland for Brooklyn. If you knew her, you’d know it’s the right decision, but she’s still grappling with the fear of the unknown/grief for the life one is leaving behind.

Here’s the thing about making any big decision about ending something (your physical location, your career, your relationship): the first few months that come after it suck.

For a week or so, you’ll get that novelty euphoria — so many new places to walk! New smells! New flirting opportunities, if you’re single! New desk! — and then, discomfort sets in. You miss your old things. You miss being able to know exactly where to go for good Vietnamese food, and how to get there. You get lost. You transgress some unwritten rule and feel like an asshole.

These feelings do not mean you’ve made the wrong decision. You can’t really evaluate something new at first. So when you’re feeling frustrated, when you’re feeling lost, when you’re asking yourself why, why, why you made this choice, push through it. Examine your feelings of loss from a distance — of course you miss your old city/job/significant other. The only way you wouldn’t miss it is if there was nothing redeeming about that time in your life.

So just wait. Know that your sadness will not kill you. Give it three months.


16th Oct 2013 2,406 notes , Comments

Step 313: Never, under any circumstances, begin playing Cookie Clicker


Where did the last 24 hours of my life go? What is wrong with me?

10th Oct 2013 700 notes , Comments

Some great things to have in your desk or locker at work:

  • A stick of deodorant
  • Hem tape or a sewing kit
  • A lint roller
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever. Probably ibuprofen!
  • Non-perishable, non-stinky snacks
  • Feminine hygiene product of your choice, if you are a lady. Or an over-the-top helpful dude!
  • Disinfecting wipes, so you can wipe your desk off a couple times a month.
  • Quarters
  • A travel-size toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Tissues
  • Mints or gum
  • LABEL MAKER! Ok, that one is optional, but you will be the toast of your coworkers if you are the one who can make everyone amazing labels and singlehandedly end stapler theft in your place of business.
4th Oct 2013 1,273 notes , Comments