Me: i wish i could just write “things that are bullshit”
Editor Meredith: so many things are bullshit
Me: SO MANY
chapter one: stupid trend pieces that get angry at 20-something women for being 20-something women
chapter two: the wedding industrial complex
chapter three: people who don’t spay and neuter their pets
chapter four: gnats
chapter five: why can’t i keep sheets looking nice?
chapter six: misogyny
Important note: I have not and don’t ever plan on accepting sponsorship/putting ads on this blog. The sweetest swag I’ve gotten is a box of 48 rolls of toilet paper from the Toilet Paper World blog after I wrote a guest entry for them. Best swag ever.
So this is nonbiased; these are just things I was deeply grateful to own this weekend:
OxiClean powder is amaaaaazing. My white duvet was looking dingy, so I washed it in hot with a big scoop of OxiClean and now it is like a new damn duvet whereas before it had chocolate and soup on it. Pretty sure OxiClean gets whites as white as bleach AND you can use it on colors AND you can make it into a paste and scrub things with it AND it’s not terrifying the way bleach is.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Countertop Spray in Honeysuckle: This is the first cleaning product I have ever been temped to spray on myself. That is how nice it smells. I did not think that there was a smell so nice that it would make me want to wipe things just for the scent but there you go. Maybe it’s partially cocaine, who knows.
Voluspa candle in Laguna: I have never, ever gotten a schmancy candle, and then my dad got me one for Christmas and I was like, ok, fine, I will try this. And it makes my whole house smell like a rich intimidating lady home. The one he got me was $8; it took me seven months to go through it. WORTH IT.
*Obviously they are not really invaluable the way, say, love or friendship is. But they are worth, to me, more than what I paid for them at the store.
So. What is your favorite grown-up product?
"If you don’t get to touch it, you don’t get to talk about it."
— My friend Kim, on when it is or is not OK to talk to someone about their body. Hint: it’s usually not OK.
Scene: Boyfriend and I are laying in bed on our laptops even though we should be cleaning the house for upcoming familial birthday party. He is playing a 1996-era game where he is a wizard; I am on a social networking site that makes your life look prettier than it is.
Me: Oh my Godddddddd, (Beautiful domestic goddess friend) is on Instagram.
Boyfriend: Stop looking at that.
Me: (anguished) Look at these tea sandwiches she made! And they are on a silver tiered tray! I don’t even understand these sandwiches.
Boyfriend: Stop looking at that.
Me: Ugh, she made (her husband) a beautiful birthday pennant garland! I have no idea how to make a pennant!
Boyfriend: It’s a bunch of triangles. Stop looking at that.
Me: (burying head in blankets so I don’t have to look at the non-pennanted, non-tea-sandwiched, non-fresh-flower-filled hellhole I live in) It’s just … I … ugh … pennants.
Boyfriend: Are you doing this to try to feel bad?
Me: (muffled) Yes.
Boyfriend: Did it work?
Me: Well, I feel terrible, so … yes.
I decide that a wretched creature such as myself doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as someone who has seamlessly integrated coral/sea shells/clean lines/baroque antiques into their actual home where they live. The only honorable way is to keep my face down in this dingy IKEA duvet until breath leaves me in the hopes that I will be reincarnated into someone who paints lovely oil seascapes in her free time.
Guys! I am working on a story for a big national magazine (woo!) about how to establish a grown-up relationship with your parents and extended family.
I want to pepper it with stories and anecdotes and advice from people our age, so here we go. If you do choose to answer, please add your state/age/first name (you can do this anonymously too!)
1. What’s one thing you’ve done to make your family see you as an adult instead of a child? Did it work?
2. What is your worst regression moment?
Man! What a proud night in America it is! It’s so nice to know that not only are racist cops allowed to shoot black unarmed teenagers with impunity, but so are those who just really, really like to pretend that they’re racist cops.
The theme of this blog is being a grown-up, and grown-ups do something besides post angry Facebook statuses when they’re upset. None of us can magically End Racism Forever! but if you are horrified by what happened tonight, don’t let that just evaporate like seafoam in the sun. Do something.
1. Take some time to feel deeply angry and upset. This is deeply, deeply upsetting to reasonable people. But — remember that there are people out there, a lot of them, who are indeed working very, very hard to combat this ugliness, and you can help them. Going and spending some time on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website is a good start.
2. If you live in a state that has a Stand Your Ground law or Castle Doctrine in effect (that would be — I believe — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming) spend a few minutes Googling to see if there is an opposition group. If so, get involved.
If not, write to your state representative. I’m serious. There are some reasonable, non-gun-nut states on that list — California, Maine, Massachusetts, etc. — and if something is going to change, it has to change NOW. This will be forgotten in three weeks, at least in terms of actionable public sentiment.
3. If you do live in a progressive state (the kind where people pride themselves on their non-racism coughOregoncough) do not assume that this is something that only happens in the bad, bad, racist south.
There is nowhere in America untouched by institutional racism. It’s real and it’s everywhere and it shouldn’t take a sad, internally ugly man getting away with murder to demonstrate. Wherever you are, your city and your state need work and it will not be accomplished via social media statuses alone.
TL;DR: The way you feel tonight? It’s necessary, but doesn’t help anything. What will help is channeling that anger into meaningful action.
What am I missing?
- Not all of us live in Brooklyn! In fact, the vast majority of us do not live in Brooklyn.
- Most of us don’t get money from our parents! Nor do we want it! Assuming that everyone has parents who could or would bankroll a life in NYC or SF is fatuous. What many of us want and most of us have are jobs.
- Yes! Jobs! We have them! We get up and put on work-appropriate clothes and then go to work and do our best and come home.
- We did not all study humanities! Of those who did, lots have great jobs! And even if some don’t — did you make no stupid decisions when you were 19? Do you think that maybe someone who is deeply in debt with few job prospects maybe has learned his or her lesson without your public concern-trolling?
- Not every 20-something female who is making a movie/writing a book/running a blog needs to be compared to Lena Dunham. Lena is insanely talented and telling an interesting story. But: It is a story. It is not the only story.
- Yeah, Boomers: a lot of us are narcissistic. Also, we’re in our 20s. 20-somethings are to narcissism as teens are to contentless rebellion, or 50-somethings are to weird, expensive hobbies that bring them joy.
- We grew up with a model, and set of assumptions, that proved untrue. During our childhoods, unemployment was low, houses gained in value, a bachelor’s degree left you prepared for a variety of employment opportunities and investing was a sound decision. Now all of those things aren’t the case. It’s our job to deal with that, and that’s fine. Generations have faced much worse. But it’s easy to distrust a system that melted down so spectacularly just as it was time for us to buy into it.
- Seriously: is this just a need for an older generation to feel anxious about the next one? Do you really think humanity has devolved spectacularly in the past 15 years, and there is something uniquely wrong with us? Do you just need something to rile the readership up? What is the deal?
One of the funnest* parts of book publicity are the emails and comments I get after every TV appearance. Here’s a very representative one:
It really is kind* of this stranger to take a moment out of her no doubt rich and fulfilling life to inform me of something I’d previously never noticed*. I definitely did not spend years of my life thinking that I’d be pretty if only it weren’t for my gap*, and never opening my mouth to smile so that it was this awkward grimace thing which immediately dropped off my face*.
(Note: everything marked with a * is a lie. Just so we’re all on the same page.)
I had braces, but the gap was more powerful. I thought about cosmetic work. I almost wrote a check for it.
And then one day I woke up and said, fuck it. This is stupid. This thing is a part of you and if you spend one more second angst-ing about something that is not a problem and does not impact your life then that’s on you. How much time had I wasted on this already?
If you want to, you can spend your entire life picking out things to hate about yourself. You can find a new non-reality-based appearance concern to fixate on each and every day, if you want.
Or you can do your best to accept that it doesn’t matter to anyone but you, then actually smile in pictures.